Duets on Psalms Endorsements

Duets on Psalms : Drawing New Meaning From Ancient Words. Ben Yehuda Press (2023)

Psalms are our people’s songs, an ancient playlist that still strikes a chord in our hearts. From lamentation to celebration, the Psalms speak to us from generation to generation. Rabbis Elie Spitz and Jack Riemer explore thirteen, favorite Psalms: providing a new translation; revealing the artistry of the compositions; and with short, personal essays sharing how the respective psalm is evocative and relevant today.

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“Rarely do we get to sit by the side of two spiritual leaders at the height of their powers, to savor their wisdom as they unveil the deep wisdom and compassionate heart in the Book of Psalms. These ancient poems, newly translated, have spoken to seeking souls across the generations. Thanks to Rabbis Riemer and Spitz, they can speak to us now!”

            Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean of Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University

My experience in reading this inspiring book started as hearing two voices thinking together who were joined by all the sources they brought along and soon after that hearing my own thoughts and ideas spontaneously join theirs.  That was a delight. I thought, “These songs keep singing themselves!”

Sylvia Boorstein, Co-Founding teacher, Spirit Rock Meditation Center; author of  author of That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist: On Being a Faithful Jew and a  Passionate Buddhist

“The readings presented by these two master teachers bring the history and power of the Psalms to life. Prepare to be changed!”

 Julia Reinhard Lupton, Distinguished Professor of English, The University of California, Irvine

“In Duets on Psalms, two remarkable rabbis breathe new life into the ancient words of The Book of Psalms. Rabbi Elie Spitz and Rabbi Jack Riemer perfectly complement one another offering us close readings, new translations, modern scholarship and timeless wisdom. They give us the tools to allow the words of the Psalms to open our minds and enter our hearts. This illuminating work is a literary journey filled with faith, wisdom, hope, healing, meaning and inspiration.” 

Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi and To Begin Again

“In Duets on the Psalms, Rabbis Riemer and Spitz, two of the master teachers of our times, prove the truth of the rabbinic adage, ‘Turn [the Scripture] over and over again, for all is in it,’ by providing new readings of familiar texts. Through their multi-layered explorations of and commentaries upon eleven psalms that address the gamut of human emotions and aspirations, they provide the reader with new insights and meanings into the human condition that stimulate the mind but more significantly transform the soul. Theirs is a spiritual masterpiece!” 

Rabbi David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“Not just Rabbis and Pastors, but everyone who loves the Psalms should own this wonderful book. Rabbi Jack and Rabbi Elie have not only learned the Psalms all their lives, they have lived the Psalms through decades of ministry to people in every possible phase and crisis of life.  This book oozes with authentic wisdom that only comes from investing a lifetime in both God’s Word and God’s world.”

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life

“What a brilliant combination. Rabbis Jack Riemer and Elie Spitz, two of Judaism’s most inspirational teachers, offer a lifetime of insights on the Bible’s most inspired book. A work to read and reread and to return to for inspiration.”

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and Words that Hurt Words that Heal

The Jewish sages recommend that the Torah not be studied alone but in community, minimally with one other. This injunction has resulted in the tradition of hevrusa—the study partner.  Here is a book in which the richness of such study is made visible, and it results in a reading of selected psalms that brings them to life in a dialogical context. There is nothing quite like it in the literature of psalms. The reader is in the presence of minds fruitfully learning from and with one another.

            Peter Pitzele, creator of Bibliodrama and author of Our Father’s Wells.

“An insightful and inspiring modern look at our precious ancient Psalm heritage by two  thoughtful rabbis of different generations.  Read it and be rewarded.”
             Stuart M. Matlins, founder & former publisher, Jewish Lights Publishing

“This marvelous dialogue combines poetry and wisdom to make a book that gives both learning and life guidance to any seeking soul.”

            Rabbi David Wolpe, Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles.

Halleluyah! Take a deep dive into these magnificent poems with two of our most thoughtful teachers of Jewish spirituality, Rabbi Jack Riemer and Rabbi Elie Spitz. You will never read or pray the Psalms the same way again after experiencing these important and uplifting ‘duets.’ A wonderful ‘community read’ for an entire congregation and Torah study groups.” 

Dr. Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University and author of Relational Judaism.

The Psalms are a national, indeed a global, eternal treasure. Rabbi Riemer and Rabbi
Spitz have offered us a sweet gift with renewing the Psalms back to life for us through nuanced spiritual interpretation, powerful moral stories and richly woven together applications.

Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, social justice activist and author of books on Jewish texts, spirituality and ethics.

In this day and age when so many are searching for meaning, spirituality, and connection, Rabbis Spitz and Riemer masterfully distill the psalms in a way that is deep, accessible, and personal at the same time. A true testament to the evergreen wisdom of the Psalms if we see them in the right light and bring our honest selves to them.

Rabbi Josh Warshawsky, composer of music for Psalms

When great souls come together, there can be sparks. When they unite to find new meaning in the sacred songs and poems of the book of Psalms, a fire burns.

            Craig Taubman, composer of music for Psalms

“Sing Unto God a New Song.” Rabbis Jack Riemer and Elie Spitz, who are spiritual guides with the souls of poets, do just that as they bring the poetry of the biblical psalmist-of-old to our modern sensibilities.  Their wise, insightful interpretative commentary makes the psalms come alive, and enter into our hearts, touching our deepest yearnings and greatest joy.   God is smiling and singing along.

         Rabbi Wayne Dosick, author of Living Judaism and The Real Name of God

Two deeply spiritual rabbis explore the Book of Psalms – one of the holiest and most heartfelt books ever composed – and they make it come alive for us today. They draw on the most recent biblical scholarship, but also on their own wisdom, gained from decades in the pulpit and from counseling thousands of struggling human beings. Duets on Psalms is a gift. Open it and you will be uplifted, inspired and surprised.

Daniel Matt, translator of the Zohar, author of God and the Big Bang; The Essential Kabbalah; and Becoming Elijah: Prophet of Transformation