Return: Dai­ly Inspi­ra­tion for the Days of Awe

  • Review
By – May 8, 2013

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kip­pur allow us to take a transforma­tive jour­ney that can change our lives, in oth­er words to expe­ri­ence teshu­va, the man­date that we real­ly can and must change. In this very orig­i­nal work, Eri­ca Brown offers a guide­book for that expe­ri­ence that blends her broad schol­ar­ship with her deep per­son­al con­vic­tions. She tack­les such top­ics as com­pas­sion, des­tiny, faith, and humil­i­ty. The result is a vol­ume that takes us beyond our­selves by first tak­ing us into our­selves and vir­tu­al­ly guar­an­tees that the effort will be worth our while.

Orga­nized around a day-by-day pro­gram of study and reflec­tion, Return pro­vides a trio of writ­ings for each of the ten days: an essay, a group of pas­sages for tex­tu­al study, and a self-improve­ment exer­cise. Mix­ing the intel­lec­tu­al, the emo­tion­al, and the prac­ti­cal in this way enables us to learn, feel, and grow at once. The three expe­ri­ences are not dis­crete; because the dai­ly group of writ­ings are care­ful­ly cho­sen, each joins with the oth­ers to rein­force the mes­sage and make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. The result is a dia­logue between the text of this very acces­si­ble book and our inner self, which enables us to more ful­ly con­nect with the beau­ty and mys­tery of Judaism at the same time that it edu­cates us and brings us to a greater under­stand­ing of the Days of Awe.

Brown is known as a lead­ing Jew­ish thinker, one who stress­es char­acter and con­vic­tion as high­ly prized human traits. This book will help pro­mote these traits in those who prac­tice its precepts.

Lin­da F. Burghardt is a New York-based jour­nal­ist and author who has con­tributed com­men­tary, break­ing news, and fea­tures to major news­pa­pers across the U.S., in addi­tion to hav­ing three non-fic­tion books pub­lished. She writes fre­quent­ly on Jew­ish top­ics and is now serv­ing as Schol­ar-in-Res­i­dence at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al & Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau County.

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