Prophetic Voices: Renewing and Reimagining Haftarah

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Product Code: 88.33704

ISBN: 978-0-88123-370-4

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Edited by Rabbi Barbara AB Symons
Foreword by Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

The traditional haftarah cycle, read on Shabbat and holidays during the Torah service, contains a wealth of prophetic wisdom, yet today it is too often forgotten or ignored. Prophetic Voices gives new life to these ancient texts. A diverse group of contributors--including rabbis, cantors, scholars, educators, activists, and poets--provide short commentaries on each haftarah, demonstrating their profound relevance to the present. Moreover, the volume boldly invites us to rethink the haftarah canon. Going beyond the Prophets, it presents alternative readings from Jewish texts biblical to contemporary. New haftarot for each Shabbat and holiday are included, plus haftarot for the Jewish American calendar, from Yom HaShoah to Pride Month to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The readings are enhanced by scholarly essays placing the Prophets in historical context and examining the role of prophecy in Reform Judaism. Prophetic Voices summons us to listen, study, think, and teach--as well as to sing, pray, and march.

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Also available in a discounted bundle with The Haftarah Commentary.

Like water in the desert, this anthology offers fresh, new ways to make haftarot not only relevant but essential. For too long many have dreaded haftarah readings because they lacked connection to our lives, but no longer. With Prophetic Voices, I can foresee these texts commanding our full attention as we reclaim and reimagine Jewish life.
-- Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism

What a wonderful resource for cantors and for the entire Jewish community! In a time when we are struggling to bring the meaning of haftarah to our students, Prophetic Voices provides beautiful commentary. By placing the ancient prophets into modern context, the book will be valuable for students, adult learners, and anyone who wants to delve deeper into haftarah.
-- Cantor Claire Franco, Past-President, American Conference of Cantors

Prophetic Voices provides the motivation and the means to delve into the Prophets with a new appreciation for these texts and their potential to enrich the lives of contemporary readers. The book gathers together an eclectic group of authors who offer informative background essays and insightful commentary on the traditional haftarah readings, along with an array of new texts to inspire us and challenge us. I look forward to bringing this terrific volume to services as my Shabbat morning companion.
-- Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, PhD, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

A brilliantly conceived and executed weaving together of traditional haftarah readings with evocative "alternative readings" and insightful commentaries, this book draws from a rich tapestry of sources, classic and contemporary. Framed by excellent introductory essays on the roles of haftarah, the selections capture the moral power of traditional prophetic Judaism and the distinctive tikkun olam emphasis of liberal Judaism. These texts will enrich our services, more effectively engage b'nei mitzvah in their haftarah preparation, and prove an invaluable resource for sermons and for text study for social justice programs that will help guide us as we face the urgent societal and communal challenges of the twenty-first century.
-- Rabbi David Saperstein, Director Emeritus, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

What a delight this book is! The prophetic passion for God's justice is foundational to Judaism and to all the Abrahamic faiths; reclaiming these haftarah portions for use in the synagogue is a worthy goal, worthily realized in this text. I hope that Christian churches and Muslim mosques will also be inspired to explore their ancient roots and rediscover their prophetic passion.
-- The Rev. Dr. Steven S. Tuell, coauthor of The Prophets: Introducing Israel's Prophetic Writings

Under the experienced eye of Symons, ... it offers scholarly bona fides and an accessible writing style that's sensitive to contemporary liturgical needs. A rare work on Jewish liturgy that offers as much to rabbis and cantors as it does their lay congregations.
-- Kirkus Reviews

Watch the book launch
Listen to Rabbi Barbara Symons on the Seven Minute Torah Podcast
Hearing Prophetic Voices: A Weekly Reflection on the Hebrew Prophets with Rabbi Barbara Symons

Watch the official trailer

ISBN 978-0-88123-370-4
Copyright © 2023
7" x 10"
Page count: 560