Renew Our Hearts is Here

The kernel of the idea was: wouldn’t it be great to have a beautiful, meaningful, comprehensive and creative siddur for Shabbat — featuring all of the liturgy we know and love, plus reams of creativity and innovation, poetry and artwork and photography — juxtaposing some of my favorite liturgical pieces with new work that’s never before seen print? And what if that book were specifically for Shabbat Day, including liturgy for morning, a creative approach to musaf (the “extra” or additional service davened in many congregations), afternoon, havdalah, and the evening service that launches the new week?

(Why not Kabbalat Shabbat? Because there are already some great Friday night siddurim out there, like the Romemu Kabbalat Shabbat siddur. We wanted to do something a little different — for the full daytime of Shabbat, from morning until ma’ariv on Saturday night.) Enter Renew Our Hearts: A Shabbat Day Siddurco-published with Ben Yehuda Press.

Here’s a glimpse of the two-page spread that opens the Sh’ma. You can see tradition’s words, transliterations and translations, on the left. On the right there’s art by by Donna Tukel. As in Beside Still Waters, we’ve chosen not to translate or transliterate the four letter Name that hints at Was / Is / Will Be:

A two-page spread from Renew Our Hearts featuring the Shma and a piece of calligraphy art by Donna Tukel that says Shma.

Those of you who use Beside Still Waters, the shiva volume that we co-published with Ben Yehuda, will recognize the layout and interior design as soon as you open this volume. This book was intentionally designed to be consonant with that one.

My hope is that this book will be used in all kinds of settings: in synagogue communities, and among folks who may not belong to a shul; inside the walls of wherever we pray, and out in the woods or at a picnic table or tucked into a backpack; by Jews of every denomination, and by Jews who identify as pluralist or trans-denominational or “just Jewish.”

Though the book just came out, there’s already a fantastic review of it on Facebook — don’t miss R. Yossi Zylberberg’s video review at Magical, Mystical, Musical Room of Judaism.

Here’s a glimpse of the two-page spread the opens the renewed Musaf service. Photography, meditative questions, contemporary prayer-poetry on Musaf themes:

Renew Our Hearts is available in hardback or paperback, standard size or large print. As with Beside Still Waters, a discount is available for orders of ten or more. Click through to get your own copies. And I hope you’ll let us know how you use this book and what speaks to you. It’s been an honor and a privilege to midwife this book into being, and I couldn’t be more delighted to uplift all of these voices in print.

Renew Our Hearts includes work by Trisha Arlin, Ze’ev Barkan, R. Leila Gal Berner, R. Daniel Brenner, R. Lewis John Eron, R. Shir Yaakov Feit aka R. Shir Meira, R. Lev Friedman, Jonathan Gibbs, R. Jill Hammer, R. Burt Jacobson, R. Laura Duhan Kaplan, Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman, R. Evan Krame, R. Janet Madden, R. David Markus, Mark Nazimova, R. Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, Susan R. Schorr, Kohenet Taya Shere, R. Jennifer Singer, Donna Tukel, R. Shohama Harris Wiener, and R. David Zaslow, as well as a few pieces by me.


Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, Lead Builder for Bayit Publishing and editor of this volume, is a founding builder at Bayit. She serves Congregation Beth Israel of the Berkshires as spiritual leader, is author of several volumes of poetry (most recently Crossing the Sea and Texts to the Holy), and has been blogging as the Velveteen Rabbi since 2003.