Nearly three decades ago, Rabbi Dr. Baruch HaLevi and his family were shattered after the suicide of his paternal grandmother - a tragedy that would repeat itself twenty years later when his father took his own life.
These pivotal losses served as a catalyst for him to enter into the depths of loss and despair, emerging with a newfound wisdom that there are possibilities within our losses, blessings within our curses and beauty even within the darkness of our suffering. These insights became both Baruch's passion and purpose - to guide others through the darkness of grief, inspiring them to find sparks of light within life's most difficult moments.
Now through Spark Seekers, co-authored with Ellen Frankel, LCSW, Baruch shares new perspectives on grief and loss, as well as valuable and practical insights spanning different religions and spiritual traditions, for anyone seeking to emerge from death's darkness into life's light with meaning, purpose and inspiration.
Who should read Spark Seekers?
SPARK SEEKERS IS FOR ANYONE WHO IS FACING THE DARKNESS AFTER THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE AND IS LOOKING FOR SUPPORT. IT'S ALSO FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SUPPORT SOMEONE WHO IS GRIEVING.
My intention is to share with you what I have learned about the journey from darkness to light. This book describes my own mourning as a result of family suicides, which I will share with you, grieving heart to grieving heart. An ancient Talmudic saying goes, "Words that come from the heart enter the heart."
Regardless of the circumstances of a loved one's death, the struggle to find meaning in morning unites us. Though I draw on teachings from the Jewish faith, as well as other religious traditions, this book is for mourners of any religion or of no religion. It transcends boundaries or labels. Death is the great common denominator, and it attests to our shared humanity. Death's darkness is a reminder that we're part of something bigger than ourselves, and the truth that binds us.
Journey with me as you allow yourself to wander into the dark, confront it, and seek the sparks of possibility in the depths. Join me as a spark seeker as we cultivate those sparks into a flame, that flame into a fire, and that fire into a source of light that can illuminate our paths.
- Dr. Baruch HaLevi
Praise for Spark Seekers: Mourning with Meaning; Living with Light
In this practical and engaging guide to reinvigorating Jewish life, Rabbi Baruch HaLevi and Ellen Frankel identify the difference between a living synagogue and a dying one, and offer methods for reviving the Jewish spiritual centers—federations, community centers, institutions and synagogues—that serve as the heart of Jewish tradition and your life.
They offer practical strategies for sustaining and expanding transformation, including tips for providing impassioned leadership, inspired programming and inviting sacred spaces. Whether you are clergy, congregant or community member, this guide will help you awaken your spirit and enliven your journey to a Ruakh(spiritual)-filled life.
Read this extremely interesting and impressive book.... It offers hope, courage and inspiration to all who long to find or renew a congregation with spirit, learning, art, sustainability and radical hospitality.
-Rabbi Rachel Cowan, senior fellow, Institute for Jewish Spirituality
Rabbi B and Ellen Frankel have opened their hearts, directed their minds, and shared their soulfulness so that a path long covered is again revealed! We are invited to dance our liberation, and the ancient incense of Torah ascends through their wondrous insights.
-Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies; vice president, American Jewish University; author, Passing Life s Tests: Spiritual Reflections on The Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac
Inspiring! Refreshing! Visionary and pragmatic, traditional and innovative, personal and institutional, spiritual and authentic! A must read for anyone interested in the reimagining and revitalizing of contemporary Jewish life.
-Rabbi Irwin Kula, co-editor, The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: CLAL s Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings; president, CLAL The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership
For those who have lost faith in our people and institutions.... Provides important ideas to help us improve our own synagogues and communities. Ruakh might also be the most important missing ingredient of Federation life. Revolution of Jewish Spirit can help us there as well.
-Barry Shrage, president, Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Every religious leader, clergy and lay, will find something of value for the managing and guiding of religious institutions to become centers of spirit and community. An important addition to the happily widening bookshelf for all interested in synagogue transformation.
-Rabbi Mordecai Finley, spiritual leader, Ohr HaTorah Synagogue, Mar Vista, California; professor of liturgy, mysticism, and Jewish ethics, Academy for Jewish Religion
From radical hospitality, to synaguides, to under-constructionists, this book made me think about the language we use in Jewish life today and the way it can revive or dilute human spirit.... An intimate portrait of synagogue life ... to help readers discover and re-discover the wonder of Judaism.
-Dr. Erica Brown, author, Inspired Jewish Leadership: Practical Approaches to Building Strong Communities and Spiritual Boredom: Rediscovering the Wonder of Judaism
An inspiring and insightful manifesto to breathe life into the American synagogue in this age of choice and change. Filled with candid advice and specific examples of purpose and strategy, it s valuable reading for clergy and lay synagogue leaders.
-Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Institute for Jewish Spirituality.