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Joshua Gutoff

Rabbi Dr. Joshua Gutoff was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, and later received a Doctorate in Jewish Education there, writing on Talmud education and the development of the moral imagination. A writer and teacher, he lives in Philadelphia.

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עָלֵינוּ לְשַׁבֵּחַ | Aleinu, interpretive translation by Joshua Gutoff

Contributed on: 21 Oct 2013 by Joshua Gutoff | Abba (Arikha) bar Aybo (traditional attribution) |

A “redemptive translation” of Aleinu emphasizing universalist Jewish values. . . .


ברוכה הבאה | Blessed be the newcomer! — a ceremony for the naming of a baby daughter by Joshua Gutoff (ca. 1989)

Contributed on: 21 Apr 2019 by Joshua Gutoff |

A ceremony for the naming of a baby daughter. . . .


Blessings and Ethics: The Spiritual Life of Justice, a dvar tefillah on berakhot by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Gutoff (1997)

Contributed on: 16 Mar 2023 by Joshua Gutoff |

An article looking at the questions of why there aren’t brakhot for ethical mitsvot, in which an approach to the function brakhot as part of a spiritual and imaginative discipline is proposed. At the same time, it is argued that all ethical practices are first exercises in listening. . . .


Masking the Liturgy: a pedagogy for learning the Siddur, by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Gutoff (2003)

Contributed on: 21 Jun 2015 by Joshua Gutoff |

I wanted my students to start thinking of prayers as expressions of an interior world, rather than as descriptions of the exterior one. I suggested to them that they think of a prayer as a kind of mask, much like the ones worn in religious rituals by many peoples. The job of the mask-wearer is to discover the reality on the “inside” of the mask and bring it to life. . . .


Meaning What We Pray, Praying What We Mean: The Otherness of the Liturgy, by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Gutoff (1989)

Contributed on: 23 Feb 2023 by Joshua Gutoff |

A discussion of the nature of truth and belief in Jewish liturgical prayer, suggesting that fixed liturgy is less a vehicle for conveying theological or philosophical outcomes than a practice for developing an emotionally religious personality. Shabbat musaf is used as an example. “Meaning What We Pray, Praying What We Mean: The Otherness of the Liturgy” by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Gutoff was first published in Conservative Judaism, Vol. 42(2), Winter 1989-90, pp. 12-20. . . .



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