CCAR Press Announces Release of the Book of Proverbs: A Social Justice Commentary

Reform Jewish publisher presents a contemporary perspective on the ancient text of Proverbs by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, an Orthodox leader and activist.

New York, NY – June 1, 2022 – CCAR Press, a division of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, is pleased to announce the publication of The Book of Proverbs: A Social Justice Commentary, written by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, a global activist and author of twenty-two books on Jewish spirituality, social justice, and ethics. His previous works include the CCAR Press titles Pirkei Avot: A Social Justice Commentary (2018) and The Book of Jonah: A Social Justice Commentary (2020). This new publication includes a foreword by Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Emerita of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, and the third woman ordained by the Reform Movement. It is published by CCAR Press’s Reform Judaism Publishing imprint.

The Book of Proverbs, attributed to King Solomon, is a profound collection of Jewish wisdom, song, and inspiration. Yet to contemporary readers, the text is often unclear and inaccessible. In this refreshing and relevant commentary, Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz challenges us to find modern meanings in the words of this ancient text and teaches us how we can utilize the Book of Proverbs as we navigate our respective journeys.

Using his characteristic blend of social justice practice and Jewish thought from throughout history, Rabbi Yanklowitz connects the ancient words of Proverbs to current issues and universal concerns, including income inequality, feminism, animal rights, environmentalism, and many more. The author’s commentary is paired with the full text of Proverbs—in both Hebrew and an updated, gender-accurate English translation—so that readers may glean their own insights. Rather than offering prescribed guidelines, Rabbi Yanklowitz instead encourages each of us to undergo a personal growth process.

Rabbi Yanklowitz is the President and Dean of Valley Beit Midrash; Founder and President of Uri L’Tzedek; Founder and CEO of The Shamayim V’Aretz Institute; and Founder and President of YATOM: The Jewish Foster and Adoption Network. He was ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and holds a doctorate in moral philosophy from Columbia University. His writing has appeared in outlets as diverse as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Atlantic. He has twice been named one of America’s Top Rabbis by Newsweek. In 2016, The Forward named Rabbi Yanklowitz one of the Most Inspiring Rabbis in America and one of the fifty most influential Jews.

As Rabbi Laura Geller writes in the foreword, “This is a book about contemporary life, a book about the Torah of our own lives as well as the Torah of tradition, a book that nourishes and challenges us by offering new ways of thinking about the questions we wrestle with as modern people.”

“Filled with well-known aphorisms, Proverbs is among the Bible’s most morally rich books, yet rarely is it analyzed in depth,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, Director Emeritus of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “Now Rabbi Yanklowitz, one of American Jewry’s leading social justice thinkers, brilliantly weaves together textual analysis, traditional commentaries, contemporary views, and powerful examples in applying key passages to some of our most vexing twenty-first-century social and personal challenges, This gem of a book will be an invaluable resource to rabbis (indeed, clergy of any faith) and teachers for sermons and classes, even while inspiring social justice activists across a broad political spectrum.”

Senator Joseph Lieberman said, “Proverbs is a treasure of Jewish wisdom that is a delight to read on its own terms, and I’m glad that Rabbi Yanklowitz has written a thoughtful, moving, and modern commentary that will enlighten readers of all faiths and creeds.”

“It was an honor to collaborate with Rabbi Yanklowitz on a third book,” said Rafael Chaiken, Director of CCAR Press. “A partnership between an Orthodox rabbi and a Reform publisher is truly extraordinary and exemplifies our shared belief in the value of Jewish pluralism.”

The Book of Proverbs: A Social Justice Commentary is available at proverbs.ccarpress.org. An ebook and free study guide are also available.

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To request review copies, interview opportunities, or to book author events, please contact:
Raquel Fairweather
Marketing and Sales Manager, CCAR Press
rfairweather@ccarnet.org
P. (212) 542-8800