Essential Reading if You Are Exploring Jewish Prayer Rabbi Dan Liben
Finally, the book on Jewish prayer that I have been waiting for someone to write. Comins brings to the table a collection of some of today’s most interesting Rabbis, Cantors, daveners and meditators, who share their experience with prayer. While the book touches upon theology, its real concern is the phenomenology of prayer: how does it work? How does it transform the pray-er? What various techniques and methods of prayer can I learn from people who are further along their prayer journey than I am?
Though these questions may sound ponderous, Comins has actually written a page-turner. His interviewees are candid and personal, and you really want to hear what they have to say. Comins challenges all of us who have ever been bored by stultifying services to stop blaming the clergy or the prayerbook, and to take responsibility for our own prayer lives. He urges Jews in the pews to stop thinking about the Siddur as a book to be read in the ordinary sense, but rather as a tool to be used, as part of a more fully embodied experience, in order to reach an expanded state of God-consciousness. The how-to section near the end is phenomenal: practical techniques offered by masters of prayer that can be easily tested out and taken on as your own. This is the book that may finally wake Jews up to the possibility of prayer as a serious spiritual practice.
The best compliment I can give this book - and it deserves it - is that I wish it was available decades ago since it would have saved me a lot of stumbling around. This is the book synagogue should give out to every Bar/Bat Mitzvahs along with the requisite Tanach and trees planted in their honor in Israel. Indeed, if every rabbi made that gift then it would make a perceptible impact on the second Holocaust Jews face today - assimilation.
Exceeded Expectations Audrey Seidman
This book exceeded my expectations. A wonderful compilation of voices covering all aspects of prayer. A book I will return to many times.
A Wonderful Guide to Prayer Rabbi Jason Rosenberg
I'm a rabbi who was looking for a book which would inspire me a bit in my own prayer life, and perhaps give me some ideas for teaching about prayer to my congregants. What I got from this book was much more than that.
On a personal level, I found the book to be incredibly powerful. The format - a combination of interviews with comments from the author - is wonderfully engaging, and surprisingly appropriate for this topic (since it inherently provides a multitude of views and approaches, which is essential for prayer). And, the content is top notch. It provided me, and continues to provide me, with thoughtful inspiration for my own personal prayer life.
I've also begun using this book as the basis of an ongoing workshop in my synagogue. And, it's been an unqualified success. My congregants respond deeply to this book, and the teachings within it. It's having a real, noticeable impact on the prayer life of the participants (myself included).
If you're looking to work on your own sense of prayer and spirituality you can't do better than this book. I highly recommend it.