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The Illuminated Kaddish

Interpretations of the Mourner's Prayer

By Hyla Shifra Bolsta

The Illuminated Kaddish:
Interpretations of the Mourner's Prayer
Hyla Shifra Bolsta
The Illuminated Kaddish breathes new life into the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, universally recognized, loved and recited all over the world. It is a contemporary illuminated manuscript, the artist/author's personal interpretation (or midrash) expressed in poetic text and lavish artwork. The book explores the prayer's profound ideas and opens new horizons on the themes of gratitude and paying tribute to life.
The Illuminated Kaddish is a modern meditation that offers a treasured opportunity to slow down and open the gates to reflection, understanding and contemplation. Its familiar cadence comforts mourners who feel an attachment to it, as if it were in their genes, without understanding the wisdom of its words. The book benefits mourners, family and friends, who look for solace and inspiration at this poignant time. It will continue to comfort and uplift spirits.
The Illuminated Kaddish is not only for mourners. For readers who want to understand the Kaddish in the context of centuries-old Jewish tradition, this book revitalizes its meaning and relevance to contemporary thought.
10" x 10" hardcover

Availability: In stock!



~Review by Nathan Rosen, Library Research Manager, Dechert LLP, New York
"This is a stunning coffee table book on a topic that normally people might not think to display. It is a truly enchanting and strikingly beautiful illustrated manuscript of the Kaddish with much more. The book includes the traditional text of the Kaddish along with a transliteration. The author collects a number of alternative translations along with other types of interpretative "translations". One section provides notes describing the meaning behind the words and the illuminations. Another section is a collection of quotes from the Torah and from scholars together with their own breathtaking illuminations. Bolsta includes interesting egalitarian comments on the use of the masculine or feminine names of God and notes about the word "Amen." Additionally the book incorporates some
history on the tradition of saying the Kaddish and a Glossary of key terms and notes when the Kaddish is recited. This unique book would be a valuable addition to any library's collection regarding death and mourning, as well as art collections. As it is both beautiful and inspirational, individuals who have a personal interest in this topic might consider adding it to their collection. The book could also serve as a thoughtful gift to someone who has experienced a loss." (Posted on 8/31/2016)
~Review by Rabbi Lewis Barth, Ph.D., former Dean of Hebrew Union College, LA, CA Professor of Midrash and Related Literature
"Hyla's manuscript is an original midrash, a wonderful, artistic interpretation of the Kaddish, and enchanting and spiritually moving visual experience."
(Posted on 8/31/2016)
~Review by Rabbi Avram Davis, Ph.D., author and teacher
"Hyla's art is a part of her practice. Her art opens the gates of the heart for all to see. It is a sublime prayer. It is beautiful in the way that truth is beautiful - for it illuminates the deepest depths."
(Posted on 8/31/2016)
~Review by Rabbi Ron Isaacs, author of The Jewish Mourner's Handbook
"The most important act associated with the year long period of mourning by one who has lost a loved one is the recitation of the Mourner's Kaddish, an ancient hymn of praise to God. The Illuminated Kaddish, beautifully illustrated and interpreted by Hyla Shifra Bolsta brings a new dimension of understanding to this prayer. With original visual illustrations, calligraphic illuminations and rabbinic interpretations and quotations, this book will surely uplift the heart and mind of the reader. it is a book full of rich images and thoughts that anyone can take to heart. If any book has a chance of uplifting the spirits, this is it." (Posted on 8/31/2016)
~Review by Rabbi Margaret Holub, spiritual leader of the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community, Caspar, CA
"Hyla's illuminations of the Mourner's Kaddish opened up this prayer for me in a way that reciting it literally thousands of times never had. Her illustrations and words lift the soul to worlds beyond our finite lives. They will be healing to mourners and uplifting to all who see them." (Posted on 8/31/2016)
~Review by Jonathan Boyarin, Kaplan Professor of Modern Jewish Thought, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
"What a wonderful gift Hyla Bolsta has given us! The artwork, calligraphy and commentary, taken together, are a powerful work of Jewish renewal in the largest sense. They are nourished by the rich soil of tradition and blossom in new colors. They permit us to see the kaddish as a source of comfort--a key connecting us to the world, the divine, and to those we love and have lost." (Posted on 8/31/2016)
~Review by Lawrence Kushner, Emanu-El Scholar-in-Residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco and author of I'm God; You're Not, Kab
"Not everyone can be healed by words alone. For many, imagery is the return to life. Bolsta has given us a visual midrash on probably the most widely recited and least understood prayer in Jewish liturgy. Even if you have not lost a loved one, these words and especially these images help reorient your own spiritual inner-compass."
(Posted on 8/31/2016)

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Additional Info

Additional Info

Format Hardcover
SKU ktav2435