Shaken To My Bones

A Poetic Midrash on the Torah

by Brian Rohr


This item will be released on September 3, 2024.

About this book

Cry those tears,
heal the future generations
who must battle that old wound over and over, again

Brian Rohr is a maggid, a storyteller in the finest sense of the Jewish tradition: He weaves together elements of Torah into a new tapestry, creating a personal, ancient yet contemporary and magical midrash.

Advance Praise

“If you think you have read enough poetry books inspired by the weekly parsha, you might have to think again— but only after reading this one. Turn it and turn it again! In Brian Rohr’s exquisite poems, wonders unfold: a star traverses the sky before there is a sky or even stars at all, and a covenant is taken from the sky and made into a knife for circumcision. Crisp lines like ‘It is solstice and warmth is a distant memory, like fresh plums picked from the neighbor’s tree’ augment the wonder of the book. The author, also, never leaves behind a reader. Instead, Rohr manages to weave readers into poems of biblical reflection, by telling us, for instance, of ‘Twelve sons, each with a complicated past like your own complicated past’ and calling for the cities of refuge from the Torah, but for the persecuted of our times. So, yes, we are taken along on a journey both ancient and immediate — one that is rewarding beyond comparison.”
Baruch November, author of Bar Mitzvah Dreams

“Like all good poetry, Brian Rohr’s book stirs more questions than it gives answers. And like all Torah, it seeds more questions than it sprouts answers. Munch on the harvest!”
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, founder/director of The Shalom Center and author of many books including the Freedom Seder, Seasons of Our Joy, Dancing in God’s Earthquake, and Down-to-Earth Judaism

“Brian Rohr’s Shaken To My Bones honors the biblical ancestors by engaging in the dance of interpretation. The poet explores the books of the Torah with a clear sense of the pathos of the patriarchs of Genesis and their descendants, sensitively giving voice to dilemmas, wonders, and sorrows. For Rohr, the entry into sacred text is a process of widening the self, like ‘surrendering to some great river, whose destination is unknown.’ And yet, there is also a sense of the poignant gulf between a contemporary life and these culture-shaping myths; as the poet writes: ‘How am I to understand the instructions they left me when so much has happened and so much has changed?’ It might be that Shaken To My Bones will inspire the reader to engage in some midrash-making of their own.”
Rabbi Jill Hammer, author of Sisters at Sinai: New Tales of Biblical Women and The Jewish Book of Days