Book Review

Anna Längström will be posting book reviews in the upcoming Newsletters on topics of Judaism. Anna is a lawyer and is studying Jewish studies and Philosophy in Basel.

"To Pray as a Jew", Rabbi Hayim Halevi Donin

This book is aimed at all Jews who want to shed new light on their prayer practice and their understanding of prayer. Some people pray simply because they were told to, because they simply follow the siddur or because they once learnt a certain way of praying. Others pray in moments when it just feels right. In any case, there are always new ways to learn prayers and praying, e.g. what to pray for and how to find a way to pray in times when you are not so close to God. After an introduction to prayer in general, which is also interesting for secular Jews, the book gives a detailed insight into the most important Jewish prayers. A large part of the book is devoted to the Shmone Essre/the Amidah, which, along with the Shema, is one of the central prayers of the Jewish service. Each section of the Shmone Essre is explained so that we can easily understand how the nineteen parts are combined and in which order they are said depending on the service. Even experienced worshippers will get their money's worth with this book, as many details about the choice of words and the origin of the prayers are explained. Therefore, this book should not be missing in any Jewish home library. Although it is written in easy-to-understand language, you don't have to read it in one go, as there are also exciting short insights into individual parts of the prayer. So if you want to give your prayer practice a new perspective, this book will not disappoint you.

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