Through reflection, guided meditation, and learning, we help you partner with your future self
What we do
The Book of Life Project is a learning, reflection, and spiritual deepening process that encourages a writing practice based on our deepest yearning that we and those we love will be "written into the Book of Life-Zochreinu L'Chayyim" for a year of goodness, health, and peace. The Book of Life Project gives each person the opportunity to make this tradition real in their lives as we meet weekly (in person and now on ZOOM) for meditation, reflection, study, and community. It is our opportunity to partner with our future selves.
Who we are
Matthew, Sydney, and Yoshi met in their first year of Rabbinical School in Jerusalem at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1992 and almost 30 years later re-united to create the Book of Life Project and share their love of Torah, spirituality and each other with the world. From Sea to Sea, the east coast to the west coast, The Book of Life is a Project close to their hearts that was born of a unique spark of Torah fire that all three Rabbis share in their own synagogue communities and wanted to find a way to share with people around the world.
Rabbi Matthew D. Gerwitz
Rabbi Matthew D. Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in July 2006. Previously he served as Senior Associate Rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom. He earned his Masters in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in 1996 and was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1997.
A strong advocate of social justice, Rabbi Gewirtz is a founding executive committee member of the Newark Coalition for Hope and Peace, an interfaith organization of Jews, Christians and Muslims that is committed to ending gang violence in Newark. This past September, Rabbi Gewirtz was appointed as the President of the Coalition of Religious Leaders for the State of New Jersey.
A regular contributor to numerous professional publications, including the CCAR Journal, The American Rabbi and The Wisdom Daily. He is the author of “The Gift of Grief: Finding Peace, Transformation and Renewed Life after Great Sorrow” (Random House).
Rabbi Gewirtz is a Fellow at the National Jewish Think Tank CLAL. He appears as a commentator on religion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN’s State of the Union. He has recently started his own television series as a tri-anchor of PBS’s (NJTV), A Matter of Faith with an Imam, Bishop and Rabbi.
A native New Yorker, Rabbi Gewirtz was drawn to B’nai Jeshurun when he learned of its long and storied tradition and was moved by its proud history and intergenerational sense of community. Though impressed by the physical beauty of B’nai Jeshurun’s sanctuary, he was most moved by the community’s steadfast and abiding commitment to authentic worship, substantive Jewish study, and the prophetic values of social justice.
Rabbi Gewirtz is married to Lauren Rutkin, a philanthropy advisor. They are the proud parents of Jake, Natalia and Sadie. Rabbi Gewirtz is also an ardent fan of baseball (NY Mets) and football (NY Jets) and serves on the Newark Museum Council.
Follow him on Twitter: @rabbimat
Rabbi Sydney Mintz
Rabbi Sydney Mintz was ordained in 1997 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. She is the founder of the award winning Late Shabbat Young Adult Program at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco where she has served as Rabbi for the past 22 years.
Rabbi Mintz became a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem in 2004 and serves on the National Board of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice. She serves on the 360Advisory Council of the The Reimagine: End of Life Project and is the Co-Creator of the Book of Life Project with Rabbis Matthew Gewirtz and Yoshi Zweiback. In 2018, Rabbi Mintz’s one woman show “You May Think I’m Funny, But It’s Not” premiered and sold out at the Marsh Theatre in San Francisco. She is married to Filmmaker Ellen Spiro and together they have three sons, Elijah, Gabriel and Arlo. @RebSyd
Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback
Yoshi was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Princeton University in 1991 and was ordained as a Rabbi by the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in 1998. He trained as a Jewish Educator at HUC’s Los Angeles campus, where he received a M.A. in Jewish Education.
He served Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, California, as Rabbi and educator for eleven years, until moving to Israel with his family in 2009 to become the Director of HUC’s Year-in-Israel program. In addition to overall management of the graduate level program, he served as an instructor in Jewish Liturgy. In 2015, Yoshi was elected Senior Rabbi of Stephen Wise Temple in Los Angeles, California.
Rabbi Zweiback is a lecturer at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He is also the volunteer Executive Director and Founder of Kavod, a non-profit tzedakah collective which is dedicated to protecting human dignity.
Rabbi Zweiback is also an author, musician and composer. His publications include the teacher’s guide to Shalom Ivrit II; Day of Days; and Days of Wonder, Nights of Peace: Family Prayers in Song for Morning and Bedtime. As part of Mah Tovu, he has released three albums, published two books, and performed across the United States.
He is married to Jacqueline Hantgan. They have three awesome daughters.
We would love to hear from you...What are you writing in your book of life? How can we help?
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Thank you to Mario M. Muller for the use of his drawing, “The Book of Life.”