Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins’ Jewish Stories from Heaven and Earth: Inspiring Tales to Nourish the Heart and Soul does precisely that – nourish the heart and soul, and I recommend it highly to Jews, people of all faith traditions, atheists and agnostics, rebels and anyone who cherishes the human spirit. It is a collection of stories that Dov has collected in his journeys around the world over the last two decades. This, from his introduction, describes well the content and impact of this special volume:

“The tales told in this book emerge out of the Jewish tradition, but can undoubtedly be read and enjoyed by people of all faiths. They are Jewish, but also very human stories, universal in content and theme…

These…are not simply stories, not mere legends spun out of the mysterious minds of a talented muse. Rather, they are tales of courage, devotion, and passion: narratives of commitment to education, perseverance, piety and familial love, community solidarity, heroic behavior, and extraordinary achievement. They come from the muse of the famous, and the not so famous [Israeli Prime Ministers, rabbis, scholars, teachers, physicians, survivors, journalists, the elderly and the young]…

One cannot come away from reading these amazing chronicles of life at its heights and depths without experiencing a surge of pride in our Jewish heritage.

In these tales are the best and the worst of God’s creations: people who are gentle, kind, compassionate, audacious, and heroic; and others who have tried to extinguish from the planet that glowing ember of spirituality called the Jewish People. You will be lifted to the highest mountaintop and plunged into the darkest abyss in the course of reading about the lives of people who are simply trying to eke out a living…

Taken together, these tales exemplify what it means to be the Jewish People, whose history is as old as Babylon and as new as Tel Aviv…”

Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins is a lecturer, educator and author. Everything he publishes is worthwhile reading, and this is one of them. It is published by Jewish Lights Publishing, (www.jewishlights.com), 2010. I hope you will include it in your stack of books to be read! I saw it about a year ago, bought it and finally got around to reading it. I am glad I did. So will you!

 

 

 

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