For Immediate Release
New Book on Jewish Spirituality and Addiction
Pittsburgh, PA – October 27, 2010 – Ktav Publication Society in New Jeresey announced the release of a new book on recovery from addiction, God of Our Understanding by Rabbi Shais Taub.
Taub, thirty-six, an ordained rabbi and popular speaker who has counseled addicts all over the world, discussed his motivation for this project, stating, “Much has been done to remove the stigma facing addicts in need of help, especially in the Jewish community. Now, I feel like it’s time for Judaism to offer its insights into the spiritual principles at work in Twelve-Step programs.” The book’s title – God of our Understanding – refers to a Twelve-Steps catch phrase emphasizing the addict’s need to develop a personal relationship with God, something that Taub feels the knowledge of Jewish spirituality can be useful to attain.
According to Taub, he actually began writing the book after National Public Radio’s Day to Day show aired a program profiling him as “an expert in Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps.” Says Taub, “I had been putting the pieces for the book together in my mind, so when the reporter asked if I had written a book, I said that I was working on one. My publisher heard the broadcast and asked me to publish the book with them. That’s when I actually started writing.”
Taub started writing the book in Milwaukee where he and his wife, Brocha, co-founded the Jewish Recovery Fellowship which continues to meet even after the Taub’s move. Having moved to Pittsburgh earlier this year, Taub now leads Conscious Contact, a prayer and meditation group that holds meetings at the Aleph Institute Northeast Regional Headquarters in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
When asked if it is ever pointed out to him that Pittsburgh is already famous for a Chasidic rabbi who moved to Pittsburgh from Milwaukee and writes books on addiction – referring, of course, to Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. – Taub laughs and says, “I actually wrote to the rabbi before we moved to town and said, ‘I promise I am not trying to imitate your life,’” and adds, “Rabbi Dr. Twerski is obviously a personal hero of mine. That’s why I am so honored that he approved of my book.” Twerski’s endorsement of the book, as it appears on the back cover, states that Taub’s book “should be read by all clergy, therapists, people in recovery, people who should be in recovery and their family members.”
According to the book’s publisher, Ktav Publications in New Jersey, the book is being ordered by the box-full by Jewish groups that support addicts.
An already well-known expert in Jewish mystical teachings, Taub uses his knowledge of Torah to explain the spiritual principles at work in recovery. "The key to recovery is finding a Higher Power. That's no secret. All of the Twelve-Step literature says so clearly. It's just that addicts are free to choose their own conception of God or 'God of their own understanding' which is where the title of the book comes from. What my book does is offer a Jewish perspective on how to find God. My goal is to enhance people's recovery by giving them something to think about as they travel on the path of lifelong spiritual growth that addicts require for their survival."
Asked whether he thinks his book was written for a Jewish audience, Taub responds, "Some of the greatest response I've heard is from non-Jews who are recovering addicts and genuine spiritual seekers. To be in recovery, you've got to constantly be growing in your relationship with God. They tell me that having a Jewish perspective has blown them away."
One of Taub's main points in the book is the mystical, Chasidic idea that "There is nothing but God" and that it is only ego that makes us feel otherwise. "Overcoming our sense of separation from God is the primary challenge in life,” says Taub, “This is what all of the great Jewish spiritual teachers have said. Recovery is also all about getting over the shame, the crippling self-consciousness and existential unrest that we feel as something separate from God. In recovery they say that ego is the problem and that's why God is the solution. Recovery teaches people how to make this change in their lives. Judaism is the treasure trove for finding explanations of how and why this works."
About the Author
Rabbi Shais Taub received his rabbinical ordination from the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn, NY. A sought-after speaker, he has travelled all over the United States and Israel giving classes and lectures, leading retreats and serving as scholar-in-residence at various congregations. He is the author of several acclaimed works elucidating the principles of Jewish spirituality. His latest work, entitled God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction, was praised by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. as a "masterful elucidation" on the subject of recovery. NPR's Day to Day called Taub "an expert on Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps." Rabbi Taub is currently Executive Creative Director of the popular video website Jewish.TV. He and his family make their home in Pittsburgh, PA.
He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.