Mazal tov to Rabbi Debra Robbins of Temple Emanuel in Dallas TX, an alum of the IJS Clergy Leadership Program and member of the Hevraya (our clergy alumni), who has written a wonderful new book: “New Each Day: A Spiritual Practice for Reading Psalms”. Based on her previous book on using Psalm 27 as a basis for spiritual practice leading up to the High Holidays, “New Each Day” guides readers to engage with the shir shel yom, the “psalm of the day” as a daily spiritual practice.
Each of the seven psalms forming the basis of the practice is accompanied by a niggun (wordless melody) composed by Cantor Richard Cohn, a member of the current IJS CLP faculty. Here is a link to Cantor Cohn’s niggun for practicing with the psalm for Sunday.
Readers engage each week with a different reflection question on the psalm of that day of the week; each psalm is also accompanied by four Reflections for Focus, one for each week of the month. For the psalm for Rosh Chodesh, the book includes reflections for focusing on the holiday or theme for each Hebrew month.
Here is an example from the book of a Reflection for Focus, this one relating to Psalm 24, the psalm for Sunday:
“Introduction to Sunday, Psalm 24” (pages 6-7)
The Dawn of Creation.
The Beginning of it All.
Psalm 24: The Way to Start Each Week.
Order and openings, internal and eternal gates,
always in God’s Presence.
A seven-day spiritual curriculum,
a core vocabulary for conversation,
as ancient poems speak with each other and us,
and days unfurl toward Shabbat.
The language of lovers,
or of siblings, understood in silence,
by unseen bonds of holy connection…
Sunday sets the schedule
a singular focus in ten verses,
all the time,
Sunday speaks the language of life,
the mountain of work for the week,
God’s challenge looms large.
Rested and re-souled,
we return to the week, to the words,
tall and strong, noble,
our labor will bear fruit,
for God’s world,
in God’s presence.