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For Times Such as These

A Radical's Guide to the Jewish Year

Rabbi Ariana Katz and Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg

Jewish Life and Tradition, Jewish Studies

Paperback
Available March 2024
ISBN: 9780814350515
Pages: 400 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus.
$29.99
Ebook
Available March 2024
ISBN: 9780814350522
Pages: 400 Size: EPUB
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus.
$29.99

This contemporary companion to the Jewish year cycle is not only a bellwether for radical Jews who want their lives and practice to be rooted in their political commitments but also an educational resource in Jewish tradition, holidays, and ritual. With a chapter for each month of the Hebrew calendar, For Times Such as These offers spiritual practices and holiday rituals rooted in movements for racial justice, decolonization, feminism, and queer and trans liberation. Each chapter opens with an invocation by liturgist and healer Dori Midnight and illuminated by artist Sol Weiss. Highlighting each month's spiritual and cultural qualities, Rabbi Ariana Katz and Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg summarize and provide commentary on Torah readings; examine the texts, histories, and contemporary customs of Jewish holidays; and offer questions to reflect on and engage spiritually with the month. This work provides a guide for creative action and ritual making throughout the seasons, an exploration of anti-Zionist Judaism, and spiritual-cultural invitation to embody and expand decolonial, anti-racist, queer, and feminist Jewish practice.

Rabbi Ariana Katz is the founding rabbi of Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebl, a warm and joyful congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg is an organizer, activist, and writer based in South Minneapolis. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and core organizer of the Radical Jewish Calendar project.

Welcome to the voice of a new generation pushing the boundaries of Jewish thought and practice with clarity, urgency, and passion. Refusing the division between radical politics and deep religious commitment, Katz and Rosenberg lay out the spiritual offerings of each month of the Jewish year and provide a guide for creating political rituals that are grounded in and flow from each season. I cannot think of another book that provides such a helpful overview of the holidays while also centering left perspectives and practices.

– Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective

For Times Such as These is a beautiful, practical, abundant gift to Jewish radicals. It sets out a spacious, generative, grounded approach to thinking about Jewish ritual, Jewish resistance, and Jewish time. This book offers support for a wide range of ways to observe Jewish time and practice Jewish being right now, in these times of ecological crisis and rising fascism, where we badly need to plug into countercultural, earth-based wisdom about resistance and survival. It complements, updates, and expands the existing literature on the Jewish year, proliferating inroads toward radical, connective, restorative, inclusive Jewish practice. This book will become the dog-eared reference text, full of folded pages, dried flowers, and tear stains, that accompanies us through the tumult that is underway and that is on the way.

– Dean Spade, author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)

I wept when I read this book, recognizing its call in my bones. When my great-grandmother's grandmother, a rabbi's wife, walked out of her shul in Ukraine, she was walking toward the sacred, revolutionary, old/new Judaism this book proclaims. I am polishing my bedside table to receive it.

– Aurora Levins Morales, author of Rimonim: Ritual Poetry of Jewish Liberation

For Times Such as These is a wise and courageous book -- an extraordinary testament to the vibrant creativity of the Jewish Left and essential reading for all of us who yearn to ground our spiritual and political lives in the practice of justice, care, love, and liberation.

– Julia Watts Belser, author of Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole

This book is as practical as it is political, as piercing as it is poetic. It makes accessible ancient sources as well as a huge array of modern ones, seamlessly weaving the most traditional and the most radical ideas and practices, making them not only copasetic but inseparable. Beautifying Jewish ritual (in the authors' own queer interpretation of hiddur hamitzvah), this book is both a welcoming entry point for any individual as well as an engaging and challenging resource for community leaders. For Times Such as These is a historical document reflecting the nature of our times, accounting for the development of Jewish ritual across history, and making room for its future promise. 'By showing kavod, honor, to our elders, wrestling with the stories we've inherited, we can be transformed,' write the authors, who have given us the opportunity to join them in this beautiful queer chain of tradition.

– Zohar Weiman-Kelman, author of Queer Expectations: A Genealogy of Jewish Women's Poetry

For Times Such as These is a love letter to both Judaism and Jews. With humility and rigor, Rabbis Katz and Rosenberg guide us through the Jewish year's stories and practices, while simultaneously amplifying the political passions, spiritual yearnings, and ethical demands of Jewish, anti-Zionist, queer abolitionists who in the twenty-first century are refusing to cede Judaism to the Right. This book is sure to become a standard reference in home libraries for a deep dive as you turn the page of your Radical Jewish Calendar or prepare for the next holiday, in the rabbi's office, as a textbook for Intro to Judaism classes, as a way for non-Jewish comrades to access Jewish cultural life, and as a historical record of this moment in the long arc of Jewish time. It is an inevitable and essential contribution to our lineage that began with rebellious Esther and will continue until liberation is won for us all.

– Rabbi Alissa Wise

Katz and Rosenberg invite us to explore the ritual rhythms of the Jewish year. This welcoming guide brings together a diasporic political lens with accessible rabbinic teachings to help cultivate new forms of radical community.

– Anna Elena Torres, author of Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature

This is a unique and impressive work that provides valuable information and commentary. It's a must-read for anyone who wishes to live their life in Jewish time connected to social justice work.

– Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, professor emerita of religion, Temple University