Beside Still Waters: A Journey of Comfort and Renewal is a book for mourners, for those who will someday become mourners, and for those anticipating their own journey out of this life. It offers liturgy both classical and contemporary for different stages along the mourner’s path, from prayers for healing (even when “cure” may be out of reach) and prayers to recite before dying, to prayers for every stage of mourning: from aninut (the time between death and burial), to shiva (the first week of mourning), to shloshim (the first month), the culmination of the first year, yahrzeit (death-anniversary) and yizkor (times of remembrance).
This volume features traditional words alongside renewed and renewing interpretations and variations. It contains complete liturgies for shiva (mincha / afternoon or ma’ariv / evening prayer) accompanied by resonant new translations, evocative readings, and complete transliteration for ease of use by all. It also contains prayers for a variety of spiritually difficult circumstances (miscarriage, stillbirth, suicide, when there is no grave to visit, mourning an abusive relationship, and more.)
Edited in the trans-denominational spirit of Jewish renewal, Beside Still Waters was designed to be used both across and beyond the denominational spectrum. Its contributors include a variety of writers, artists, rabbis, and spiritual directors with deep experience in crafting meaningful Jewish liturgies. (See the contributor list below.)
Praise for Beside Still Waters
Beside Still Waters is a treasury of loving, comforting Jewish wisdom offered to support us in times of loss and grief. It is like having a wise, warm friend when you need that most. In my own time of loss, it became that for me. — Rabbi Marcia Prager, author of The Path of Blessing and dean of the ALEPH Ordination Programs
This is a wisely constructed and genuinely beautiful book. Beside Still Waters weaves ancient practice and new traditions into a totally approachable and readily usable companion that will help carry people through each phase of illness, death, mourning and healing, with honesty, compassion, wisdom and love. May those who turn to this book in time of need discover that they are not as alone as they likely feel, are more supported than they may know, and that a place of genuine comfort is there for them no matter what. — Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, Co-president of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
Beside Still Waters is a sensitive, beautiful and contemporary re-invention of Jewish liturgy, ritual, and wisdom surrounding the end of life. Many talented poets and liturgists have contributed to this companion to those who are grieving, healing, and accepting. Their words offer a variety of practices and beliefs, addressing a multitude of human circumstances — some that are traditionally marked and others once overlooked. Facing into the dilemmas and mysteries of our existence, Beside Still Waters is a friend to those who mourn, those who face their own death, and those who ask questions about the meaning of life and its end. Whether you are facing a dying, a funeral, a shiva, a yahrtzeit, or the lack of a mourning structure to hold your grief, there is something for you here. — Rabbi Jill Hammer, Author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons and co-founder of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute
Beside Still Waters is a collaboration between Bayit: Your Jewish Home and Ben Yehuda Press.
The volume is dedicated to Rabbi Dr. Shohama Harris Wiener. Read the dedication online here. If you’d like to donate in honor of Rabbi Shohama toward the publication of this volume, you can donate to The Jewish Studio; please earmark your donation for Bayit.
Includes work by: Trisha Arlin, Helene Armet, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Alla Renée Bozarth, Debra Cash, Rabbi Eli Cohen, Rabbi David J. Cooper, Cate Denial, Rabbi Lewis Eron, Shir Yaakov Feit, Rabbi Lev Friedman, Rabbi Chaya Gusfield, Rabbi Jill Hammer, Rabbi Cynthia Hoffman, Rabbi Burt Jacobson, Alison Jordan, Rodger Kamenetz, Anna Belle Kaufman, Irwin Keller, Rabbi Evan Krame, Rabbi Janet Madden, Rabbi David Markus, Rabbi Jay Michaelson, Mark Nazimova, Amy Grossblatt Pessah, Faith Rogow, Rabbi Brant Rosen, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Kohenet Taya Shere, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, Soferet Julie Seltzer, Rabbi Jennifer Singer, Maxine Silverman, Devon Spier, Jacqui Shine, Elliott bat Tzedek, Rabbi Shohama Harris Wiener, Rabbi David Wolfe-Blank z”l.