Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Highlighting: “Prepare My Prayer: Recipes to Awaken the Soul,” by Rabbi Dov Singer. English edition of Israeli bestseller translated by Leah Hartman. Maggid Books. 2020. English. Hardcover. 292 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1592645374.

(Courtesy of Makor Chaim) Rabbi Dov Singer is a recognized trailblazer in Israeli education and Jewish spirituality. He is head of Yeshivat Makor Chaim and the Study Center for Renewal, is an educational innovator and a leader of the modern Israeli revival of hasidut. He has attracted thousands of Jews of all backgrounds to workshops and prayer events to explore and enhance spirituality while going beyond ritual choreography. He has taught generations of students, young and old, how to talk and listen to one another, and as a result, how to do the same with God. His new book, “Prepare My Prayer: Recipes to Awaken the Soul,” invites readers to taste his unique insight.

Rabbi Singer sees humans as “Homo-mitpalelos,” praying beings, rather than “Homo-sapiens,” thinking beings. He claims that all of humanity, and in a sense all of creation, prays instinctively. He guides his readers on how to let go of all the questions—“to whom am I praying? Why am I praying? Does it even work?” and to learn how to harness their spiritual instinct for prayer.

In his debut book in English, translated from the successful, bestselling, Hebrew edition, “Tikon Tefillati,” Rabbi Singer seeks to engage readers and encourage them to take practical steps and actions to actively influence their prayer experience. In the style of a cookbook, Rabbi Singer includes short recipes as a means to develop and enhance one’s skillset—the mechanisms we use when we pray. Modeled on techniques Rabbi Singer has implemented in his popular workshops that attract people of varied backgrounds, “Prepare My Prayer” emphasizes one’s concentration, one’s emotional and spiritual connection with God, and one’s personal engagement with the Divine.

Comprising 11 chapters broken down into concise, accessible sections, each “recipe” begins with short, powerful quotes ranging from traditional Jewish texts from the Bible to the Talmud to hasidic masters like Rebbe Nacḥman. Rabbi Singer’s poetic narrative then focuses on and guides readers in a particular practical aspect of prayer, encouraging readers to take what’s being shared and practice it.

This book is for anyone who prays, who wants to pray, or who wants to want to pray.

A series of book launch events will be held throughout the U.S. with New York metropolitan-area events on Monday evening, February 24, at the Young Israel of New Rochelle, Tuesday evening, February 25, at Lincoln Square Synagogue, and Wednesday evening, February 26, at Teaneck’s Rinat Yisrael.