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Guide Wins National Book Award

Volume Is Called 2011’s Best on Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice

CONTACT: Shira Dicker

WYNCOTE, PA—(January 13, 2012)The Guide to Jewish Practice: Everyday Living (RRC Press/September 2011/$39.95) has been honored this week with a prestigious award from the Jewish Book Council. The recent volume by Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., director of the Center for Jewish Ethics of RRC, won The Myra H. Kraft Memorial Award, in the category Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice. “I am delighted to receive the award, and I’m especially happy that the added attention the book is receiving will help more people who seek tools for Jewish living to find the guidance they need," Teutsch says.

The most comprehensive work of its kind ever published outside the Orthodox world, the volume collects and builds on seven decades of outstanding scholarship in Reconstructionist Judaism. It is the first of a three-part series, offering access to the rituals, values and beliefs that are vital for all who want to center their lives on Jewish values but do not feel bound by halakhah, traditional Jewish law. Everybody at some time in life is a ‘seeker,’ ” Teutsch comments. “We all hit that moment when we wonder, ‘How do I move forward in a way that reflects who I am and what I care about?’I hope the Guide can help contemporary Jews to keep creating new solutions.”

The volume features commentary by many leading lights of the Jewish world—Rabbis Mordechai Liebling, Sandy Sasso, Sid Schwarz and Sheila Peltz Weinberg, as well as Ruth Messinger, Marilyn Price and others. It is available through RRC, in stores and on Amazon. The series will eventually include two additional books, on Jewish holy days and on the life cycle.

The work has garnered high acclaim from religious leaders across the denominational spectrum. Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion says, “Everyday Living: A Guide to Jewish Practice will be an indispensable addition to the library of all who seek individual and communal guidance and insight from the sources of Jewish tradition in virtually every area of life.” Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and distinguished professor of philosophy at American Jewish University, comments, “This volume…is a ‘must read’ not only for Reconstructionists, but for anyone who wants to understand the Reconstructionist approach to Judaism.”

And Ruth W. Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service, declares, “This comprehensive guide helps us identify our values, organize our lives accordingly and live as ethical people in a challenging world.”

The National Jewish Book Awards program, the longest-running North American effort of its kind in the field of Jewish literature, recognizes outstanding books of Jewish interest. The winners of the 2011 awards will be honored on March 14 at a gala awards ceremony to be held at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

About the Guide

This first volume of A Guide to Jewish Practice covers the following topics: 

·         Everyday Spirituality

·         Ethics of Speech

·         Family and Sex Ethics

·         Community, G’milut Hesed and Tikun Olam

·         Organizational Ethics and Economic Justice

·         Tzedaka

·         Bioethics

·         Kashrut

·         Decision Making


About the Author

Rabbi David A. Teutsch Ph.D., is the director of the Levin-Lieber Program in Jewish Ethics and the Louis and Myra Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.