These liturgical poems can accompany the prayer service or be read or recited on their own. Although this type of poetry is traditional in origin, many of the poems are anything but traditional. Instead, they often challenge received beliefs and in different ways ask the hardest of questions: How can a benevolent God allow suffering? I hope the reader will find the poems inspiring, illuminating, and thought-provoking and be able to use them as a guiding light to a deeper spiritual experience.
Click here to read a PDF version of the book showing the liturgical context of the poems.
2016 Publication Date/Temescal Canyon Press/ISBN 978-0-9969332-0-9/LCCN 2015920448
$15 + sales tax + postage
The author has degrees in music, creative writing, and Jewish studies and has been writing poetry since 1964. After a long career in book publishing, he taught creative writing at the University of Denver and the Boulder Jewish Day School. He now leads occasional writing workshops for adults on Jewish incantation bowls, ethical wills, and liturgical poetry. His work has appeared in Beatitude, HaLapid, Jewish Currents, Kansas Quarterly, Midstream, Numinous, Partisan Review, and the Boulder Jewish News, among other print and online publications. He has published two previous books–The House and Chance Music–and hosts two web sites: www.medievalhebrewpoetry.org and this site, henryrasof.com. In December 2019, the Mendelssohn Glee Club, founded in 1866, performed a song version by Canadian composer Fiona Evison of “Here I Seek You,” the title poem in the book of the same name, at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City. A more complete author bio, c.v. , and list of publications can be found by clicking the previous links.
“Rasof’s collection of modern piyyutim is a lovely escapade into postmodern liturgy–the cautious quest of a poetic humanist and would-be lover. His prayer-poems will sweep you up in revelry, as they implore the great mystery to disclose itself.”–Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, Ph.D.
“Henry Rasof’s new liturgy is one of the most important new works of Jewish prayer in the last hundred years. He succeeds as no one before him in breathing new life into medieval genres of Jewish prayer and poetry, and using them to express a personal and contemporary spirituality. Both as poetry and as liturgy, this is a masterpiece of Jewish letters.”–Joseph Davis, Associate Professor of Jewish Thought, Gratz College.
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