IN THE NARROW PLACES: SUMMER INSPIRATION FROM A NEW OU PRESS BOOK
You no longer have to choose between ignoring the “Three Weeks” period culminating in Tisha B’Av, or trudging through it without feeling; you can embrace it and learn from it. That is Dr. Erica Brown’s message in her new book, In the Narrow Places: Daily Inspiration for the Three Weeks, published by OU Press | Jewish Educational Publications and Maggid, an imprint of Koren Publishers Jerusalem. With great sensitivity and insight, Dr. Brown advocates a simple program of introspection and reflection that can transform the period from a focus on abstinence and deprivation to one of meaningful spirituality and inspiration.
The “Three Weeks” is an extended time of communal mourning that occurs every summer. Many people are challenged to appreciate the “Three Weeks” because the reason for the mourning – the destruction of the Temple two millennia ago – is today so abstract and distant, and cannot compete with the summer spirit of laziness and freedom. Dr. Brown’s groundbreaking book presents brief and accessible studies in basic ideas -- such as tenderness, absence and consolation -- and offers a daily “kavana” to help readers deepen their sense of feeling and connectedness during this period. By thinking creatively about these ideas and following the daily “kavana,” readers will turn the “Three Weeks” into an inspiring time of personal development and spiritual growth.
Dr. Erica Brown, the scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and consultant for the Jewish Agency and other Jewish non-profit organizations, is an author and educator who has attracted increasing attention for her fresh message to the contemporary Jewish community. A pioneer in the field of adult Jewish education, she was recently profiled in The New York Times by David Brooks, who wrote that she “has what many people are looking for these days… she combines extreme empathy with extreme tough-mindedness.” Jeffrey Goldberg, writing in The Atlantic, described Dr. Brown as “one of the leading Jewish thinkers in America today.”
In the Narrow Places is the latest offering from OU Press, the publishing house of the Orthodox Union, that recently published Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays by Rabbi Norman Lamm, and Darosh Darash Yosef: Discourses of Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik on the Weekly Parashah by Rabbi Avishai David. Important future books include the Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur, a new prayer book with a magisterial commentary based on the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s teachings, accompanied by the eloquent translation of the prayers by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the popular Koren layout.
Copies of In the Narrow Places, which cost $22.95 each, are available through www.OUPress.org. Those who wish to place a bulk order (at a discounted price) can contact OU Press at OUPress@ou.org.
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