Parenting on a Prayer

Ancient Jewish Secrets for Raising Modern Children

by Amy Grossblatt Pessah


In stock (can be backordered)

About this book

In Parenting on a Prayer, Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah mines the Jewish prayer book to discover key values for thoughtful parenting, relating them to the lessons she learned as the mother of three children.

“Every page of this inspiring work is filled with lessons to live by.”
— Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi

“An important book for all who struggle and rejoice in the challenges of parenthood!”
— Rabbi David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“This precious book embraces us and our children in wisdom, compassion, and joy.”
— Rabbi Bradley Artson, Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University

Advance Praise

Parenting on a Prayer is a gift and a blessing. It is a gift to anyone who wants to be a better parent, more attentive, more supple, and able to be truly present for their children or grandchildren. And it is a blessing because it invites a kind of mindfulness and generosity of spirit that can blossom into love. This precious book embraces us and our children in wisdom, compassion, and joy.

Rabbi Bradley Artson, Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, author, God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology

Parenting on a Prayer is a gift for every parent to have and to share. Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah is a master teacher who brings Jewish prayers to life and reveals the inner wisdom of our tradition. Every page of this inspiring work is filled with lessons to live by. Parenting is the greatest gift of life, but also the most challenging and humbling. This remarkable book offers us encouragement through difficult times and perspective when life spins out of control. Most of all, it reminds us that something as simple as a prayer can transform the way we raise our children in blessings and in love.

Rabbi Naomi Levy, spiritual leader of Nashuva and the author of Einstein and the Rabbi

In Parenting on a Prayer, Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah displays great depths of understanding and wisdom. She draws meaningfully on the Jewish prayer book as well as her own life as a mother to offer a realistic, comforting, and inspiring portrait of what it means to be a parent as one’s children evolve and grow. Rabbi Grossblatt Pessah has provided a compassionate work of spiritual insight that will touch and direct the souls of all who read her. This is an important book for all who struggle and rejoice in the challenges of parenthood!

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

Parenting on a Prayer describes Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah’s sensitive and carefully observed spiritual journey through mothering three children. Pessah offers prayers and sacred texts, as well as narrations of her own memories, to inform an ethically aware, compassionate, and gentle but firm parenting strategy. Her thesis is that parenting can be a spiritual practice in which we strive over and over to enact loving presence, patience, and wisdom. From tenderness to tension to tragedy, Pessah offers us a startlingly honest view of her own experiences and a lens through which to view daily family life. Parenting can often be lonely, and Pessah’s journey and reflections will be a good companion for many who are struggling to parent children in a complex and changing world.

Rabbi Jill Hammer, author, The Jewish Book of Days

A midrash tells us that, when the Israelites stood at Mt. Sinai hearing the voice of God, each person heard that voice in the way that s/he could best receive its message. The beautiful hymn, An’im Z’mirot, expresses the importance of receptivity with these words: “They saw You young, they saw You old, They saw You patient, they saw You bold.”

Rabbi Grossblatt Pessah continues this tradition in this thoughtful, emotionally honest book. As a lifelong student and practitioner of Jewish prayer, I can attest to the validity and deeply personal way in which she brings a new level of meaning to the prayers Jews recite daily and weekly, a level which has always been there and which Rabbi Grossblatt Pessah uncovers. The application of sacred texts to the realities of daily parenting and, in so doing, making child-rearing a deeply spiritual practice, is in harmony with the significance Judaism gives to family.

I only wish this book had been available to me when I was actively parenting and recommend it to others wholeheartedly.

Rabbi Daniel Siegel, Spiritual Director, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal Canada, Editor, Kol Koreh Siddur and Machzor

This honest, loving, scholarly, and profound book is an ancient and modern guidebook to parenting and a reminder to parents everywhere of the tenderness and wisdom with which we are all held by the Divine. As a pediatrician I have read and reviewed many books on parenting. Among them Parenting on a Prayer is completely unique. To read it is to be prepared to parent more wisely and recognize more fully that you yourself are a child of God.
Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
Author, Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings
Clinical Professor, Family and Community Medicine
University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine

Praise from Jewish educators

Parenting on a Prayer is a one of a kind book. It is a great resource for parents and teachers alike to help crack open the hidden gems within the prayerbook. As a parent and educator, I wish I had this resource available in navigating the complexities parenting brings within the context of our tradition. I want to congratulate Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah for her ability to intertwine her expertise and vulnerability as she beautifully brings ancient wisdom to modern parenting.

— Helena Levine, Head of School, Donna Klein Jewish Academy

Parenting on a Prayer is a unique resource for parents, educator and clergy which melds prayer and parenting in a most accessible manner. It presents limitless possibilities in the synagogue for parent education and family programs.

Robin Eisenberg, Director Emerita of Jewish Learning and Living, Temple Beth El, Boca Raton, FL

This is the book that Jewish educators have been waiting for!

We know how to teach our students how to read the prayers. We even know something about how to teach our students how to translate the words. But until now, we have had no book that enabled us to touch both the minds and the hearts of our students. We have had no guide in how to teach our students the ideas and the ideals, the mystery and the majesty, of the words in the prayerbook.

Now we do!

Rabbi Amy Pessah’s book belongs in the library of every Jewish teacher and every Jewish parent. It is an invaluable resource for all those who care about transmitting Judaism to the next generation.

—Rabbi Jack Riemer, author, Finding God in Unexpected Places