About this book
“There’s much to atone for in how I manage my world:
The absence of a god is no excuse.”
Herb Levine writes spiritual Jewish poems from a personal and non-theist perspective. His poems ask us to bring the values that religion offers us—gratitude, awe and responsibility—into our everyday experience without having to be grateful to, responsible to or in awe of a supernatural being. An Added Soul: Poems for a New Old Religion carries forward the themes he began to develop in his first book, Words for Blessing the World (2017). Taken together, the two books offer those seeking to reconstruct and renew Judaism valuable resources for the Jewish holidays and alternatives for worship.
“Herbert J. Levine’s lovely poems swing wide the double doors of English and Hebrew and open on the awe of being. Clear and direct, at ease in both tongues, these lyrics embrace a holiness unyoked from myth and theistic searching. For this poet, the truest temple may well be the act of human kindness. I know that I will return to An Added Soul with gladness time and again.” —Lynn Levin, author, The Minor Virtues
“ ‘Only from small deeds…giving a soft answer, turning away anger, increasing peace at home/is the world sustained….’ Those words from Herbert Levine’s thoughtful, gently assertive, and moving new book are at the heart of his commitment to at one and the same time sustain and transform the world of Hebrew/American poetry. For me, Levine’s poetry is inspirational: filled with strength and humility at once, a spiritually-infused secularity and integrity that heals divisions in our culture and liberates our sensibilities to imagine anew. I am truly grateful!” —Rabbi Dr. Miriyam Glazer, Emerita Professor of Literature, American Jewish University, author of Dancing on the Edge of the World: Jewish Stories of Faith, Love and Inspiration
“I was moved by Herbert Levine’s first book of bi-lingual poetry, as I am by this second one. His point of view as a non-theist steeped in Jewish tradition, who continues to find meaning and enrichment in his Jewish heritage, is as refreshing as it is iconoclastic. It is precisely in those moments when he debunks myths while imbuing them with new meaning that the poetry is most poignant.” — Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David, author, Life on the Fringes and Channah’s Voice