Enhance your spiritual life.
The official website of Rabbi Debra Orenstein, named "One of America's Most Inspiring Rabbis" for 2014 by The Jewish Forward.
Interested in exploring spirituality - in the Jewish tradition and in yourself? The materials on this website will assist you - no matter your background or beliefs.
Rabbi Debra's audio teachings, edited from recordings of services and classes, are available on CD (scroll down for details) or downloadable via iTunes. Organized by theme, the audio albums include sermons, prayer explanations, meditations, and answers to questions from live audiences.
Browse our online written materials, including quotations, Bible commentaries, long and short essays, meditations, and more. Explore our resource links and audio samples. Discover what resonates with you, and return again to check out new content.
Listen now to an address by Maurice Middleberg, executive director of Free The Slaves, when he was a recent guest speaker at Rabbi Debra's synagogue:
** REMEMBERING RABBI ZALMAN SCHACHTER-SHALOMI **
It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the death of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, just a month before his 90th birthday. Reb Zalman was an extraordinary leader in the Jewish world. Rabbi Debra was privileged to lead High Holiday services with him for 15 years, and he became her rabbi and mentor.
Recently, she has written about Reb Zalman in three articles:
Kohen, Tzadik - a message about Reb Zalman as he transitioned from this world,
Two Kinds of People - Reb Zalman's extraordinary contributions are acknowledged in The Menorah, bulletin of Congregation B'nai Israel in Emerson,
Where Greatness Lies - A Memorial Essay Prepared for The New Jersey Jewish Standard newspaper.
Listen now to Reb Zalman on the subject of death in these excerpts from his audio teaching albums:
Being Afraid to Die (from "Reb Zalman Teaches")
Yizkor (from "Reb Zalman Prays")
Albums of audio teachings by this great sage and friend can be purchased below on CD (scroll down) or downloaded from iTunes. All proceeds will be donated in Reb Zalman's memory to Free the Slaves.
FREE SLAVES! Did you know that there are approximately 27 million slaves working in the world today? Jews are banding together to rescue slaves and keep them free. After a solid year of research, Rabbi Debra has selected Free the Slaves as the charity to which she directs people when they really want to make a difference. Click here or on the "Free The Slaves" button below to DONATE. Make a difference today.
To learn more about this important and pressing cause, Click here or on the Freeing Slaves tab above.
"Rabbi Debra's profound teachings of truth and possibility, coming as they do in a voice so gracefully loving and wise, inspire devotion and thanksgiving."
-- Sylvia Boorstein, Ph.D.
Teacher, psychotherapist, and author of Happiness Is An Inside Job
“Rabbi Debra Orenstein is one of the great teachers, great souls, of our time. Her integrity, wisdom, compassion, and deep, deep love of Torah blend together to create a symphony of life-enhancing insights and images. She beckons us to heights we could never ascend on our own, but we dance willingly in the presence of a master! [Her] recordings will restore your bearings and rebirth your soul!”
-- Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Vice President, American Jewish University
Purchase teaching CD's right from this page and preview any track on iTunes. As always, there is no charge for shipping.
Receiving blessings and giving thanks as a spiritual practice
“Say thank you,” your mother or father may have prompted you as a child. But it turns out that expressing gratitude is more than polite. Social science has shown that feeling and communicating gratitude have countless physical and psychological benefits. It’s not just that happy people are, naturally enough, grateful. Gratitude causes people to become happier. Not only does gratitude get the “seal of approval” from Mom and from positive psychology, it is steeped in and supported by ancient spiritual teachings and practices. Gratitude is attainable – and contagious. You don’t have to deny the real problems in your life or in the world at large. What may at first seem elusive can become a natural, habitual, and vibrant source of joy.
The 2-CD set includes a special bonus track, a remarkable additional full-length sermon, not offered on the downloadable version (2-CD set $16.95).
Cultivating reverence for God, life, and the spiritual work before us
What if we could live in a constant state of awe? Awe opens our hearts, sharpens our senses, and connects us with something larger than ourselves. Awe also demands something from us. It is not enough to admire; we need to respond. With warmth, honesty, erudition, and her trademark humor, Rabbi Debra Orenstein offers teachings that both inspire awe and challenge us to live awesome lives. What will we choose to do and be? What values will we support? How can we use our time not just efficiently, but well? This CD gives you the motivation and the tools to respond. ($12.95)
Keeping lovingkindness and God’s grace in the foreground
We all agree that kindness and compassion make the world a better place. Yet, somehow, insults (real or imagined) and impositions (or were they opportunities for service?) become our excuse for responding ungraciously. On this CD Rabbi Debra Orenstein exemplifies compassion as she addresses the sins of others and our own shadow sides. She covers challenges to compassion ranging from poor grocery store etiquette to suicide bombings. Her lessons and stories will open your heart, elevate your spirit, and truly improve your world. ($12.95)
Track 4, Compassion in the Face of Evil
** PURCHASE ALL FOUR OF DEBRA'S ALBUMS ON CD FOR A 20% DISCOUNT ($45.00) **
Finding the urgency and patience we need to truly change
What does it take to really change: to repent, repair, and renew? If criticism were an effective motivator, we would all already be completely enlightened and transformed. How can we find abundant reserves of patience, hope, energy —and real forgiveness? The Jewish tradition teaches about teshuvah, returning to God and our true selves. On this flagship inaugural CD, Rabbi Debra Orenstein draws from sacred texts and contemporary interpretation, offering guidance that uplifts—and really works! ($12.95)
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
RabbiDebra.com is fortunate to offer exclusive teachings from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the eminent founder of the Jewish Renewal movement.
“Reb Zalman is the perfect teacher, not telling us what to believe or do, but opening doors for us to find our own way.” --Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
REB ZALMAN TEACHES
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s teachings cover an astonishing array of life’s most important questions: How can I cultivate joy? What shall I do with my fear of death? How can I live up to my best intentions? How can I deepen my connection with God and with people? More impressive than the august topics is the way Reb Zalman brings them to life, giving his listeners clarity, hope, and courage. With humor, poetry, erudition, unforgettable analogies, and, most of all, the shining example of his own soul, Reb Zalman not only teaches us, he reaches us. ($12.95)
REB ZALMAN PRAYS
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi has taught and written extensively on prayer, inspiring hundreds of thousands of Jews and gentiles with his wisdom. This CD is not a guide, seminar, or manual. It is not about prayer. It is prayer. Reb Zalman offers and introduces prayers, in the midst of a prayer service. He sets intentions and sings praises that lead you into prayer with him. This CD also features a prayer sung by Reb Zalman's boyhood friend, Theodore Bikel. Listen and be uplifted! ($12.95)
Listen to these CD’s and be inspired!
Join Rabbi Debra at her home shul, Congregation B'nai Israel in Emerson, New Jersey, www.bisrael.com.