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The Art of Public Prayer (2nd Edition)


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Is Ecstasy Enough? 1 Structuring Time 2 Lost Symbols 3 Worship Systems 4 Mistaking the Code, Mixing Messages, and Managing Change 5 The Presence of God at Worship 6 The Script of Prayer: Words Spoken 7 The Script of Prayer: Words Sung 8 Sacred Space: The Message of Design 9 Fixing the System to Make Worship Work For Further Reading Index

About the Author

Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, PhD, has served for more than three decades as professor of liturgy at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He is a world-renowned liturgist and holder of the Stephen and Barbara Friedman Chair in Liturgy, Worship and Ritual. His work combines research in Jewish ritual, worship and spirituality with a passion for the spiritual renewal of contemporary Judaism. His many books, written and edited, include seven volumes in the Prayers of Awe series: Who by Fire, Who by Water-Un'taneh Tokef; All These Vows-Kol Nidre; We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism-Ashamnu and Al Chet; May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism-Yizkor; All the World: Universalism, Particularism and the High Holy Days; Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu-Our Father, Our King; and Encountering God: El Rachum V'chanun-God Merciful and Gracious. Hoffman also edited the ten-volume series My People's Prayer Book: Traditional Prayers, Modern Commentaries, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; and coedited My People's Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award (all Jewish Lights). Rabbi Hoffman cofounded and developed Synagogue 2/3000, a transdenominational project to envision and implement the ideal synagogue of the spirit for the twenty-first century. In that capacity, he wrote Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life (Jewish Lights).


"Offers great wisdom about the way religious rituals can help people make sense of their lives.... This book is for all Jews and Christians who hope for religious ritual that speaks to deep human hungers and helps people discover God's presence in their daily experience." -Rev. Ruth Duck, associate professor of worship art, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary "Lawrence Hoffman shows us how, by understanding the dynamic between a person and God and among people gathered for prayer, the length of our communal reach can exceed the sum of our individual efforts. In doing so, he helps us discover our collective heart." -Rabbi Jack Moline, Agudas Achim Congregation, Alexandria, Virginia "An indispensable resource as we envision effective modes of prayer for the 21stcentury synagogue." -Dr. Ron Wolfson, codeveloper, Synagogue 3000; author, The Art of Jewish Living series (Jewish Lights Publishing) "A captivating work solidly grounded and eminently readable in which Rabbi Hoffman draws on a variety of cultural and religious analogues to help us understand the renewed liturgy and what makes it work. Highly recommended for liturgical practitioners wishing to reflect more deeply on the art of public prayer." -Father Gil Ostdiek, OFM, past president, North American Academy of Liturgy

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