About the Book
This first anthology of the most important writings by Danny Siegel, spanning and renewing fifty years of his insights, Radiance intersperses soulful Jewish texts with innovative Mitzvah ideas to rouse individuals and communities to transform our lives, communities, and world.
As a renowned teacher, Siegel describes the creative—often startling—ways in which individuals from different walks of life have brought compassion into the world, recognizes them as Mitzvah heroes, and suggests how we can apply their life lessons. He also plumbs how giving enriches living and presents Jewishly-informed best principles for doing more world repair (Tikkun Olam). As a scholar of rabbinic literature, Siegel offers translations and commentaries on Jewish texts illuminating Tzedakah, values, caring, and leadership. In addition, he tops off a half-century of his thought with five new essays reflecting on his visions for a better world. The selected poetry asks religious and theological questions in face of oppression and war, gives voice to personal lifecycle moments often neglected by ritual, and exults at the wonders of modern Israel and the revelation of love.
Both inspirational and pragmatic, this anthology also offers practical guidance on using Siegel’s classic and novel works in personal living and in Jewish organizational settings. Ultimately, in exploring the dynamic interaction between heroes, texts, and us, Siegel seeks to engage each of us in discovering our own radiant potential for creative Mitzvah living.
“Danny Siegel is a magician and this book is a collection of his best tricks. Open it to any page and smile or weep. Read any essay or piece of poetry and recognize humanity at its most open-hearted. This volume should be in every library and many personal collections. Rabbis can mine its contents for sermons. Students, synagogues and schools can find ideas for individual and community projects. Foundation professionals can find inspiration for difficult moments (which we especially need now).”—Association of Jewish Libraries News and Reviews
“No one has inspired the Jewish community to perform acts of kindness more than Danny Siegel, and this comprehensive collection of his most radiant works sings out to us all. Radiance is a spiritual masterpiece!”—Rabbi David Ellenson, chancellor emeritus, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
“In a classic comic book trope, a hitherto ordinary person is hit by a powerful, mysterious ray and becomes endowed with superpowers. If you allow yourself to be hit by this collection’s rays of love and life wisdom, you will emerge a mitzvah superhero.”—Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, author of For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter between Judaism and Christianity
“It’s impossible to think about mitzvah heroes and the way they inspire others to change the world without the work of Danny Siegel. Through his poetry, his stories, and perhaps most of all, his person, Danny helps us to believe in the possibility of tikkun, healing and repair, for everything that is broken. Radiance is aptly named—this beautiful collection fills the reader with light and hope!”—Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, Senior Rabbi Stephen Wise Temple, Los Angeles
“In today’s world Siegel’s Radiance is a much needed guide—each text becomes a source of action, and any mitzvah, no matter how ostensibly small, changes the world.”—Harlene Appelman, executive director, the Covenant Foundation
“Danny Siegel was one of the first people in the 1960s to call for a new approach to Jewish communal life: seeking out ways to give and ‘do’ tzedakah. Within a short time, young people, their parents, and entire communities were thinking differently about tzedakah. Radiance, the best of Siegel’s transformational teachings through the years, is a welcome volume that continues to challenge and teach us today.”—Deborah E. Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies
“Danny Siegel is that rare writer who dazzles us by spelling out timeless values and inspiring suggestions that can change our lives—and the lives of those who may need our help.”—William Novak, coauthor of the bestselling memoirs of Lee Iacocca, Tip O’Neill, Nancy Reagan, Oliver North and Magic Johnson
“My father, Rabbi Noah Golinkin z”l, was one of Danny Siegel’s Tzadakah rebbes; Danny Siegel is my Tzedakah rebbe. We have learned in the Talmud: ‘Greater is one who convinces others to do [Tzedakah] than one who does’ (Bava Batra 9a). ‘One who learns in order to do, they enable him to learn and to teach, to observe and to do.’ (Avot 4:5). Danny Siegel has taught tens of thousands of people how to do Tzedakah. May he continue to learn, to teach and to do—ad meah v’esrim, until 120.”—Rabbi David Golinkin, president, the Schechter Institutes, Inc., Jerusalem