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Letters to the Editor

Spiritually rich commentary

In response to the comments on my book, “Praying the Bible: Finding Personal Meaning in the Siddur, Ending Boredom & Making Each Prayer Experience Unique,” printed in last week’s edition of The Jewish Chronicle, the book and websites cited by the writer of your article do not deal extensively with the intertextual use of Bible citations in the siddur in general or the tefilah in particular, which is the subject of my book.

Either your correspondent never read my book or simply didn’t understand it.

Additionally, please note the endorsements from renowned Conservative, Orthodox and Reform authorities nationally:

• Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D., Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University

“Many contemporary Jews see the act of prayer itself as esoteric and the prayers included in the traditional prayer book, the siddur, as repetitiously stating untenable beliefs. “Praying the Bible” masterfully illustrates that identifying the biblical sources of many of the prayers of the siddur can help us discover new meanings in the prayers that apply to our own lives in very concrete and significant ways, making praying with the siddur a source for us of insight and purpose.”

• Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, Ph.D.

The Barbara and Stephen Friedman Professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual, HUC-JIR/New York

“A lovely contribution to the spirituality of Jewish prayer. In a beautiful blend of anecdote and insight, Rabbi Levin connects Jewish prayer to its biblical roots, and both of the above to the human condition in all its complexity. Recommended for all who wish to pray but are not sure why they should or even if they can.”

• Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., Chancellor Emeritus, HUC-JIR

“Mark Levin powerfully integrates deep reservoirs of Jewish knowledge with personal memories and thoughtful reflections to produce an invaluable and spiritually rich commentary on the traditional Jewish prayer service. This work will enhance the worship experience of all who read its words. It is an invaluable addition to modern Jewish devotional literature.”

• Rabbi Michael Chernick, Ph.D., Deutsch Family Chair in Jewish Jurisprudence and Social Justice, HUC-JIR/New York

“Rabbi Mark Levin’s book, “Praying the Bible,” is a valuable volume for those seeking to personalize their prayer experience and to connect more fully with God through that experience. Rabbi Levin leads by example. He offers us glimpses into his own life and how his experiences linked with his tefillot, his use of Jewish prayer in joy and in sorrow. As an additional gift to the reader he shows the connection between the Jewish prayer book, the siddur, and the Tanach, the Jewish Bible. Rabbi Levin’s citing the biblical sources that inform Jewish prayer provides greater understanding of the Siddur by unveiling the conditions in the lives of the prophets and psalmists whose words echo in it. Rabbi Levin’s “Praying the Bible” is a powerful tool for demystifying the Jewish prayer book and enhancing one’s Jewish prayer experience as a truly spiritual practice.”

• Rabbi Laura Geller, Emeritus Rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

“Praying the Bible reminds us that prayer tells stories — the story of our people as well as our own stories. In exploring the connection between words of prayer and words from the Bible, “Praying the Bible” deepens our understanding of prayer.”

• Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, California

The prayer book’s words are doorways leading to the treasures of Jewish life-wisdom, resilience and meaning. But for most moderns, those doorways are locked. Rabbi Levin provides us a key. His interpretation opens a hidden world of insight into the human condition concealed within every siddur. For those who pray, and for those who wish they could pray, this book is an invaluable gift.

• Rabbi Susan Talve, Central Reform Congregation, St. Louis, Missouri

“Rabbi Mark Levin’s wonderful book gives us the gift of his many years of studying the heart of specific prayers by teaching us how they can be relevant to each of us today. He roots us in the sacred words of the prayers and brings them to life as he challenges each of us to claim the process of prayer as a way to affirm meaning and purpose in our lives. Praying the Bible combines the accessible language of a master teacher with the deep wisdom of one who prays.”

Rabbi Mark H. Levin, DHL

Prairie Village, Kansas 

Clinton has many significant accomplishments

In August, a letter writer asked the question regarding presidential candidate Hilary Clinton: “In all her 25 years on the national scene, name one single positive thing she has initiated and accomplished.” I was bothered by that and here are just a few of her accomplishments I put together:

1. She created the Arkansas advocate for children and families, which is still running today.

2. She won a Grammy for her audio edition of her book, “It takes a village.”

3. Worked with Ted Kennedy to expand children’s Health Insurance Program, 8 million children now have health insurance.

4. Got payments for 9/11 victims (while Trump falsely claimed damage to his building and received $150,000 that should have gone to the victims).

5. She played a role in killing Ben Laden.

6. Got drug companies to study products on children, which saved many children’s lives.

8. Sanctions against Iran.

9. Helped expand health care and family leave for military.

10. Helped negotiate a cease fire between Israel and Hamas

Judy Fremerman 

Prairie Village, Kansas