Seasons of Our Joy


Seasons of Our Joy

A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays

Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow
Illustrated with papercuts by Martin Farren and Joan Benjamin-Farren
Seasoned with recipes by Rose Gertz, Hannah Waskow, Rose Sue Berstein, and Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman
With a new afterword by the author

288 pages
31 recipes, 14 illustrations, 2 tables, 4 appendixes


September 2012


$22.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

There is a poetic quality to the writing, and the ideas are original, provocative, and enriching.Library Journal

Circling the Jewish calendar from Rosh Hashanah to Tisha B’Av, this lively, accessible guide provides rituals, recipes, songs, prayers, and suggestions for new approaches to holiday observance. Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow explores the meaning of each holiday in relation to the history of the Jewish people and individual spirituality, examines how the place of each holiday in the cycle of the moon and the changing seasons affects the mood of the day, and suggests ritual and spiritual ways to prepare for each festival.

In his extensive afterword to this new edition of Seasons of Our Joy, Rabbi Waskow addresses the many changes Judaism has undergone in the last thirty years, as feminist Judaism, neo-Chassidic mysticism, eco-Judaism, and Jewish meditation have newly colored our understanding of the festivals. 

Author Bio

Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow is an author and political activist associated with the Jewish Renewal movement. He is the founder and director of the Shalom Center and the author of numerous books, including Godwrestling and Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life.


“There is a poetic quality to the writing, and the ideas are original, provocative, and enriching.”—Library Journal

“A wonderful blend of information and innovation that will help readers find both traditional and new meaning in the Jewish holidays.”—Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Again at Sinai


“Arthur Waskow’s fresh, imaginative vision brings the familiar Jewish holidays to life with new meaning.”—Rabbi Harold S. Kushner


“Arthur Waskow’s unique voice, at once eloquent, musical, creative, and passionate, rings throughout Seasons of Our Joy, weaving together strands of Jewish life: the meaning of our ceremonies and celebrations; the spirituality of the individual; the essential fragility and wonder of the world entrusted to us; the mystical chains that bind together the generations; and, permeating all of that, Waskow’s powerful Jewish vision of peace and justice.”—Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Seasons of Our Joy brings reverent renewal to ancient practices. And it presents new understanding and approaches that we are invited to sanctify. This book will heighten your awareness of the eternal religious power of the Jewish calendar.”—Rabbi Gordon Tucker, former dean, Jewish Theological Seminary


Table of Contents

How to Read This Book
A Word on Hebrew
Preface: Seasons of the Sun, Seasons of the Moon
CHAPTER ONE: Heading Up the Year - Rosh Hashanah
CHAPTER TWO: Face to Face - Yom Kippur
CHAPTER THREE: Harvest Moon - Fulfillment at Sukkot
CHAPTER FOUR: Seed for Winter - Sh'mini Atzeret
CHAPTER FIVE: Dancing with Torah - Simchat Torah
CHAPTER SIX: Dark of the Sun, Dark of the Moon - Hanukkah
CHAPTER SEVEN: The Tree that Sustains All Life - Tu B'Shvat
CHAPTER EIGHT: Spring Fever - Purim
CHAPTER NINE: Giving Birth to Freedom - Pesach
CHAPTER TEN: Trek through Anxiety and Hope - Counting the Omer
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Peak Experience - Shavout
CHAPTER TWELVE: Burnt Offering - Tisha B'Av
Afterword and Foreword
From Generation to Generation
Appendix I: The Second Day of Festivals
Appendix II: The Moon
Appendix III: Glossary
Appendix IV: Go and Study
The Festivals and the Future
Afterword Again

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