Avinu Malkeinu - "Our Father, Our King" –- is one of the seminal prayers of the High Holy Days, its final verse sung to a plaintive melody that captures the essence of the Days of Awe (a few years ago the Scottish band Mogwai even produced a rock version).
Wolpe has tried hard to synthesise the different traits of the biblical David by looking at the texts through a number of lenses: David as young man, as lover and husband, as king, as sinner, fugitive, father.
When the Reverend D W Marks spoke at the consecration of the West London Synagogue in 1842, he hoped it would become "a beacon of light and a secure haven to the sons of Israel". Philippa Bernard meticulously traces its subsequent history within three buildings, with a wealth of detail from minute books and other documents.
One of the complaints made against the Chasidim by their opponents, the Mitnagdim, was that they smoked too much. The movement’s founder, the Baal Shem Tov, reputedly puffed on a lulke, a long pipe, to help his spiritual ruminations. Others made use of “incense of the nose” — snuff.
Yehudah Mirsky’s superb new biography of the great 20th-century Jewish philosopher and mystic is a huge achievement. He gives a gripping, panoramic narrative of the arc of Rav Kook’s life, from childhood in a small White Russian village to becoming the first Chief Rabbi of Mandate Palestine, against a vividly rendered backdrop of the tumultuous history of Kook’s times.
In this intriguing work, Harry Freedman, former chief executive of Masorti Judaism, offers a two-part approach to understanding the development and impact of the Talmud. The first considers the Talmud as a developing text, exploring its origins in the post-destruction Roman Empire.