CCAR Press Announces Release of ‘Longing: Poems of a Life,’ by Merle Feld

Reform Jewish publisher presents a deeply personal collection from acclaimed poet, teacher, and activist.

New York, NY – DECEMBER 2022 – CCAR Press, a division of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, is pleased to announce the publication of Longing: Poems of a Life by Merle Feld, an esteemed poet and innovator in the field of spiritual writing. Feld’s previous works include her memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition, and a poetry collection, Finding Words. This new volume from CCAR Press includes a foreword by Rabbi Rachel Adler, PhD, one of the first theologians to incorporate feminist perspectives in the fields of Jewish texts, laws, and ethics and the David Ellenson Professor Emerita of Modern Jewish Thought at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion. Longing is published by CCAR Press’s Reform Judaism Publishing imprint.

Longing: Poems of a Life assumes the style of a memoir, presenting selected experiences from the author’s life. Feld takes us along her journey through early family violence, isolation, and the discovery of community and love; we witness her climb from the loss of possibility to the assertion of self-worth and purpose. Threading through the years are conversations with a mother long gone­—”a slip of a girl” whose misplaced loyalty and endless capacity for loving are both cautionary tale and guidepost. Deeply Jewish yet universal, Feld’s poetry touches upon the profound nature of human experience.

Merle Feld’s poems are included in many notable books, including Mishkan HaSeder: A Passover Haggadah, Mahzor Lev ShalemSiddur Lev Shalem, and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary. She has written two award-winning plays, The Gates Are Closing and Across the Jordan. Feld has organized and facilitated Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on the West Bank during the first Intifada and later in collaboration with Seeds of Peace. She has been a trailblazer in the field of spiritual writing, guiding clergy, students, and laypeople across denominations to explore and enrich their spiritual lives. Much of this work has been conducted through Derekh (, a nonprofit institute that she leads with her husband, Rabbi Edward Feld. 

Rabbi David Ellenson, PhD, Chancellor Emeritus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion said, “In Longing, Merle Feld opens her tender and strong heart, speaks from the depths of her being, and expresses in touching and heartrending poetry the sorrows and joys, trials and satisfactions that mark human life. This is a book that both disturbs and caresses the soul.”

“What is so compelling about Feld’s writing is her ability to capture defining moments in her own life in ways that lead the reader to say, yes, I feel that way too,” said Judith Plaskow, PhD, the coauthor of Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. “Her willingness to engage deeply with painful experiences of abuse and loss while also celebrating beauty and intimacy virtually ensures that readers will find many points of connection with this powerful book.”

Rabbi Noa Kushner, the founding rabbi of San Francisco’s The Kitchen, said, “I know I will read this book many times. It is that kind of book—one that you grow with. Read one page and you’ll see: the truths Merle Feld reveals in Longing unlock everything, and leave everyone wide open.”

“We are honored to be the publisher of Merle Feld’s latest collection,” said Rafael Chaiken, Director of CCAR Press. “Merle’s work means a great deal to readers in the Reform community and beyond, and these poems are unforgettable.”

Longing: Poems of a Life is available at An ebook is also available.


To request review copies, interview opportunities, or to book author events, please contact:

Raquel Fairweather
Marketing and Sales Manager, CCAR Press
P. (212) 972-3636 x241