Accidental Grace: Poetry, Prayers, and Psalms  -     By: Rabbi Rami Shapiro
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Accidental Grace: Poetry, Prayers, and Psalms

Paraclete Press / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 180
Vendor: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1612616550
ISBN-13: 9781612616551

Editorial Reviews

Inspired and inspiring, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Accidental Grace: Poetry, Prayers, and Psalms" is an absorbing and rewarding read from first page to last. An impressive anthology of the thought and poetry of Rabbi Shapiro, "Accidental Grace" is very highly recommended for anyone seeking spiritual guidance amidst the vicissitudes of daily life in these contemporary times. Highly recommended for inclusion into community and academic library Contemporary Poetry collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Accidental Grace" is also available in a Kindle edition ($14.95).—Margaret Lane, Midwest Book Review, January 2016

How does one speak to a timeless God in contemporary time-centered language? How does one relate to ancient sacred texts containing language and concepts significantly different, and perhaps alien to the modern mindset? This is the starting point for Rami Shapiro’s new book.
Shapiro is a gifted 20th/21st century poet whose love of ideas and language pervades his writings. He is also a rabbi who actively wrestles with the complex relationship between God and humans (and even more so that relationship between God and Jews and the Jewish people.) This book divides into three sections: Psalms, Poems and then a short Parable at the conclusion.
The psalm section rewrites several of the psalter’s collection, including Psalms 23 and 90. Shapiro expresses much of the essence of the original psalm, yet God is more accessible, less the object of a near-powerless supplicant to an all-powerful deity.
The prayers section is patterned on the traditional order of a Jewish prayer service. Yet Shapiro adds his personal touch, universalizing their message. He adds several poems addressing the Holocaust. In one, "To the Right, to the Left" Shapiro deftly echoes a prominent prayer from the Jewish High Holy Day liturgy, a supplication which suggests that during that time one’s life (or death) is set for the year ahead. His juxtaposition of these items makes the poem both disturbing and challenging.
In the Introduction to his work, Shapiro explains that he reads "traditional [Jewish] texts and becomes furious over how close they come to the truth without ever actually articulating it" (xi). He then takes those words, shreds them, and tosses "the bits into the air and grabs at those [he] can grasp" and "ties them into sentences" and offers them back to us as his powerful psalms and poetry (xii). Shapiro terms himself as a "Zen Rabbi," and offers an explanation for that description. I still do not understand what a Zen Rabbi is, but I do know this is sacred and special writing.—Rabbi David J. Zucker PhD BCC (retired), North West Surrey Synagogue, Weybridge, Surrey, United Kingdom

How does one speak to a timeless God in contemporary time-centered language?  How relate to ancient sacred texts containing language and concepts significantly different, and perhaps alien to the modern mindset?  This is the starting point for Rami Shapiro’s new book.
Shapiro is a gifted 20th/21st century poet whose love of ideas and language pervades his writings. He is also a rabbi who actively wrestles with the complex relationship between God and humans (and even more so that relationship between God and Jews and the Jewish people.)  This book divides into three sections: Psalms, Poems, and then a short Parable at the conclusion.
The psalm section rewrites several of the psalter’s collection including Psalms 23 and 90. Shapiro expresses much of the essence of the original psalm, yet God is more accessible, less the object of a near-powerless supplicant to an all-powerful deity.
The prayers section is patterned on the traditional order of a Jewish prayer service. Yet Shapiro adds his personal touch, universalizing their message.—Rabbi David J. Zucker, PhD, BCC. (Ret.) North West Surrey Synagogue, Weybridge, Surrey, United Kingdom

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