OU Press Wins National Jewish Book Award for Tisha B’Av Kinot

January 11, 2011

OU Press Book, Complete Tisha B’Av Service, Wins National Jewish Book Award; Second Consecutive Year Orthodox Union Imprint Receives Honor

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For the second year in a row, a book published by OU Press | Jewish Educational Publications, the publishing house of the Orthodox Union, has won the prestigious National Jewish Book Award. The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot: The Complete Tisha B’Av Service with Commentary by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, published by OU Press and Koren Publishers Jerusalem, received the 2010 National Jewish Book Award in Modern Jewish Thought and Experience. The National Jewish Book Awards, now in its 60th year, is a prestigious, long-running awards program that recognizes outstanding books. This award recognizes the volume as “the best written, most comprehensive, and engaging book” in its category for 2010.

For many years, the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (known as “the Rav”) would spend the better part of Tisha B’Av explaining the kinot, universally recited poems of mourning that describe the tragedies of destruction that have befallen the Jewish people throughout the millennia. These liturgical poems are written in difficult literary Hebrew, full of biblical, Talmudic and midrashic allusions. With his keen insight into the historical and religious meanings of these kinot, Rabbi Soloveitchik brought the texts alive and showed their relevance to the contemporary Jew. His learning sessions added depth and substance to Tisha B’Av, enhancing the day’s observances and adding meaning to the mourning.

The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot is designed to enhance the experience of users by giving them a taste of those glorious days with the Rav. The new edition contains an in-depth commentary distilled from tapes of the Rav’s all-day learning sessions, edited by Rabbi Simon Posner, Executive Editor of OU Press. It also includes an exquisite new English translation of the kinot by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President Emeritus of the OU, whose annual Tisha B’Av webcasts and DVDs are widely viewed in synagogues and homes.

The edition contains the complete Tisha B’Av service, with prayer texts from the renowned Koren Siddur, accompanied by Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ acclaimed English translation. The complete service is complemented by synopses of the Rav’s lectures on the halachic themes of Tisha B’Av and a section explaining the laws of the extended three-week mourning period prior to and including Tisha B’Av.

Last year, Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, won the 2009 National Jewish Book Award in Modern Jewish Thought and Experience for his brilliant work, Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible, Genesis: The Beginnings, published by OU Press and Maggid Books, an imprint for books of contemporary thought from Koren Publishers Jerusalem.

These two books are among the offerings of OU Press, that recently published Darosh Darash Yosef: Discourses of Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik on the Weekly Parashah by Rabbi Avishai David; and Hilchot Tefilla: A Comprehensive Guide to the Laws of Daily Prayer by Rabbi David Brofsky. Important future books include Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays by Rabbi Norman Lamm and a new Siddur with a profound commentary based on the teachings of Rabbi Soloveitchik, accompanied by the eloquent translation of the prayers by Rabbi Sacks and the popular Koren layout.

More information about these and other books is available at www.OUPress.org.

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