The Art of Jewish Living Series and Other books by Ron Wolfson

The Art of Jewish Living Series – The FJMC commissioned internationally acclaimed educator Dr. Ron Wolfson to create this series of outstanding books and guides that teach adults and families the meanings and skills of Jewish home observance:

  • Shabbat: The Family Guide & its companion Shabbat Seder Booklet of blessings and songs
  • Hanukkah: Family Guide
  • Passover: Family Guide
  • A Time to Mourn, A Time to Comfort

The FJMC no longer stocks these books in its store. Links to on-line outlets, e-reader formats, and discounts on bulk purchases are provided below.  These links will take you to these sites in a new window.  Below the links to the Art of Jewish Living Series, you will find some additional titles by Dr. Ron Wolfson. 

Since the Art of Jewish Living Series books are FJMC books, we receive a royalty on every sale regardless of who sells them.  In addition, we receive an additional percentage by your using the following links for purchases through Amazon and elsewhere.  If you wish to order in bulk quantities of at least five copies of one title or 10 copies of different titles, you can receive a discount by ordering from Jewish Lights Publishing.

Product Details

Shabbat: The Family Guide

Celebrate the joy of “making Shabbat” each week in your home—with rituals, prayers, blessings, food, and song.

This expanded, easy-to-use edition of the classic spiritual sourcebook offers updated information, more ideas, and new resources for every aspect of the holy day.

An inspiring how-to guide to every aspect of Shabbat, including:

  • History and meaning
  • How to prepare
  • Rituals, prayers, and blessings (step-by-step)
  • The Sabbath day
  • Havdalah
  • Songs and prayers in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish (with clear transliterations)
  • Recipes for traditional and modern foods to spice up the Shabbat menu
  • Family activities to enhance the experience

Enriched by real-life voices sharing practical suggestions and advice, this creative resource helps us to reacquaint ourselves with time-tested traditions and discover old and new ways to celebrate Shabbat, including biblically-inspired songs and games, Shabbat-related crafts, and more family-tested ideas.

Suggestions on how to use the book for Men’s Club programs:

  1. Lead a six-session weekly course on how to create a Shabbat seder in the home. Use the book to teach persons the basics of the Friday night table service, and add a session on challah making and a ”graduation” Shabbat dinner in the synagogue in which participants help cook the dinner. This works especially well with new Jews or immigrants who had little Jewish background.
  2. Present copies of the book. Give a copy of the Shabbat Seder text or the booklet to families celebrating an engagement, wedding, baby naming, or bris.
  3. Encourage Shabbat dinners in the synagogue by donating 50-80 of the Shabbat seder booklets to the synagogue. Advise B’nai Mitzvah families of this fact to encourage them to hold a Shabbat dinner at the synagogue and therefore make their special weekend

Product Details

Shabbat Seder Booklet

A companion to the classic guide to Shabbat Celebration: Shabbat: The Family Guide to Preparing for and Celebrating the Sabbath.

A step-by-step guide to the traditional Shabbat Seder, containing the complete Hebrew, Hebrew transliterations, and English translations of the Shabbat Seder blessings and prayers.

Product Details

Hanukkah: Family Guide

Create a meaningful and happy Hanukkah in your home—with story, celebration, food and song.

This newly-designed, easy-to-use edition of a classic spiritual sourcebook offers updated information, more family ideas, and new resources for every aspect of your holiday celebration.
Information on every aspect of Hanukkah is covered, including:
• The story of Hanukkah
• Celebrating—for families of every constellation
• Songs and prayers in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish (with clear transliterations)
• Recipes for traditional and modern Hanukkah foods
• “December Dilemmas”—coping with other traditions’ celebrations
• Firsthand explanations and ideas from real-life families around America
Hands-on advice and practical suggestions invite families into Hanukkah’s spirituality and joys, from the making of luscious latkes and Hanukkah crafts to the stories of the heroism and the miracle that are remembered every year with the lighting of the hanukkiyah.


Product Details

Passover: The Family Guide to Spiritual Celebration

Remember, retell, recreate, and relive the Exodus experience—with the stories, rituals, foods, and songs of Pesah.

This revised and expanded edition of the classic spiritual sourcebook offers updated information, more ideas, and new resources for every aspect of the Festival of Freedom.

An inspiring and practical how-to guide, Passover clearly explains all the vital information that you need to fully honor—and to fully enjoy—this sacred celebration, including:

  • History and meaning
  • How to prepare, from shopping to kashering to selecting a Haggadah
  • Rituals, prayers, and blessings (step by step)
  • Songs and prayers in English and Hebrew (with clear transliterations)
  • Innovative and imaginative new traditions to enliven your celebration
  • Firsthand explanations and ideas from a variety of perspectives
  • New information and ideas about how to involve everyone—from toddlers to teens to grandparents—in a meaningful Seder experience

Enriched by real-life voices sharing practical, useful suggestions and advice, this creative resource helps us to reacquaint ourselves with time-tested traditions and discover old and new ways to celebrate the birth and continuous renewal of the Jewish people.

Suggestions on how to use the book for Men’s Club programs:

  1. Hold a multi-session course on running a Passover seder. Use the materials to teach participants everything from the basics to little known facts about certain of the haggadah prayers.
  2. Seder match. Develop a list of congregants willing to make extra places at their seder and match them with those families and individuals who need a seder place. Contact the Hillel organizations at local universities and the Jewish Social Service agency for persons who might be in search of a seder.
  3. Hold a congregational seder, and use some of the explanation from the text to explain some of the prayers.

Product Details

A Time to Mourn, A Time to Comfort

A Step-by-Step Guide for Honoring the Dead and Empowering the Living

When someone dies, there are so many questions—from what to do in the moment of grief, to dealing with the practical details of the funeral, to spiritual concerns about the meaning of life and death. This indispensable guide to Jewish mourning and comfort provides traditional and modern insights into every aspect of loss. In a new, easy-to-use format, this classic resource is full of wise advice to help you cope with death and comfort others when they are bereaved.

Dr. Ron Wolfson takes you step by step through the mourning process, including the specifics of funeral preparations, preparing the home and family to sit shiva, and visiting the grave. Special sections deal with helping young children grieve, mourning the death of an infant or child, and more.

Wolfson captures the poignant stories of people in all stages of grieving—children, spouses, parents, rabbis, friends, non-Jews—and provides new strategies for reinvigorating and transforming the Jewish ways we mourn, grieve, remember, and carry on with our lives after the death of a loved one.

Suggestions on how to use the book for Men’s Club programs:
  1. Organize a series on mourning and comforting. Utilizing resources such as the rabbi and a local funeral director, set up a series using portions of the book as a guide.
  2. Support your congregation’s shiva minyan. The Men’s club could furnish the prayer books for use at the shiva minyan, as well as persons trained to lead the minyan. (Also see the FJMC Minyan of Comfort program.)

Other Books by Ron Wolfson

Product Details

Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community

How to transform the model of twentieth-century Jewish institutions into twenty-first-century relational communities offering meaning and purpose, belonging and blessing.

“What really matters is that we care about the people we seek to engage. When we genuinely care about people, we will not only welcome them; we will listen to their stories, we will share ours, and we will join together to build a Jewish community that enriches our lives.”

—from the Introduction 

Membership in Jewish organizations is down. Day school enrollment has peaked. Federation campaigns are flat. The fastest growing and second largest category of Jews is “Just Jewish.” Young Jewish adults are unengaged and aging baby boomers are disengaging. Yet, in the era of Facebook, people crave face-to-face community.

“It’s all about relationships.” With this simple, but profound idea, noted educator and community revitalization pioneer Dr. Ron Wolfson presents practical strategies and case studies to transform the old model of Jewish institutions into relational communities. He sets out twelve principles of relational engagement to guide Jewish lay leaders, professionals and community members in transforming institutions into inspiring communities whose value-proposition is to engage people and connect them to Judaism and community in meaningful and lasting ways.


Product Details

The Seven Questions You’re Asked in Heaven: Reviewing & Renewing Your Life on Earth

How do you get to the heart  of a life well lived? It’s all about the questions.

 “If you can hear the questions and apply them to the way you live your life on earth today, then when the time comes, your soul will be ready to take that stairway to heaven, prepared to answer the Seven Questions with a resounding ‘Yes!,’ and take your rightful place among the angels.”   

—from the Prologue

In this charming, inspiring and wise guide to a well-lived life, beloved teacher Ron Wolfson provides an advance copy of the Seven Questions you’ll be asked in heaven—whether you’re a believer or a non-believer. The answers to these questions will help you shape a life of purpose and meaning on earth today.

Supported by wisdom from the Jewish tradition, life’s experiences, and personal anecdotes, Wolfson tells you about these transformative questions and explores the values that are at the heart of a life that matters. He offers funny, insightful and poignant stories of how people—ancient and contemporary—have answered the Seven Questions through their everyday actions. He encourages you to reflect on your own life goals and provides ideas both big and small for achieving them.


Product Details

God’s To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God’s Work on Earth

You Are God’s Partner Put on This Earth to Do God’s Work

“What on earth are you here for? To do the tasks that God has for you…. You can call someone who is lonely. You can visit a friend who is sick. You can read a book to a child. You can comfort a mourner. You can volunteer your time. You can make a difference. You can give of your self—a self that is infused with godliness.”
—from the Introduction
All human beings are made in the image of God. But for what purpose were you made? The biblical answer is clear: you are to imitate God in order to bring God’s presence into your life and the lives of others.

This practical guidebook to repairing the world—often in simple everyday ways—details the biblical accounts of what God does, not what God says: God creates, blesses, rests, calls, comforts, cares, repairs, wrestles, gives and forgives. For each of God’s actions, this provocative resource suggests what might be on God’s to-do list for you, the many ways you can make small and great differences in the lives of others and find the ultimate source of meaning for your own.

An inspiring gift to uplift your spirit and share with others, whatever your faith, you can do God’s To-Do List.

Product Details

The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community

A practical guide for envisioning—and transforming—your synagogue into a powerful new congregation of welcoming, learning and healing.

“The new synagogue we envision is a spiritual center for all those who set foot inside it. It is a kehillah kedoshah, a sacred community, where relationships are paramount, where worship is engaging, where everyone is learning, where repair of the world is a moral imperative, where healing is offered, where personal and institutional transformation are embraced.The times are ripe for this spiritual call.”
—from the Introduction
So often we want our congregations to be more—more compelling, more member-focused, more spiritual and yet more useful for our daily lives. Through reflection, examples, tips and exercises—and incorporating the fruits of Synagogue 2000 (now Synagogue 3000), a groundbreaking decade-long program investigating the challenges facing modern synagogues—this inspiring handbook both establishes a sound foundation for why a deep hospitality is crucial for the survival of today’s spiritual communities, and dives into the practical hands-on how of turning your congregation into a place of invitation and openness that includes: Prayer that is engaging, uplifting and spiritually moving • Institutional deepening that is possible because of an openness to change • Study that engages adults and families, as well as children • Good deeds—the work of social justice—as a commitment of each and every member • An ambience of welcome that creates a culture of warmth and outreach • Healing that offers comfort and support at times of illness and loss • … and much more.