Praise for Michoel Gourarie’s
All On a Thursday Morning
Anybody who has tried to master a negative aspect of his or her personality or behaviour has experienced the difficulty and complexity of attaining enduring change. Surveys find that by February most New Year’s resolutions have given way to relapse, and every Rosh Hashanah we are once again faced with a long list of actions and traits that we once again seek to change. Similarly, studies consistently show that most people ‘know’ what is right ethically but in the heat of the moment will find it difficult to bridge the gap between moral knowledge and moral action. Rabbi Michael Gourarie has written a wonderful guide harnessing ancient Jewish wisdom, his personal experience learned in his many years in the rabbinate, and a gift for common-sense and clarity. I found myself learning something new on every page as Rabbi Gourarie shared vignettes, wisdom from Chasidic teachings and research in mental health.
The insights and practical advice shared in this book were culled from over a decade of weekly adult education classes Rabbi Gourarie gave to women in Sydney which included discussions on a variety of topics ranging from personal-growth, to improving communication skills and family relationships. Sections on gratitude, forgiveness, and responding to stress all contain practical strategies that go beyond cookbook style recommendations to thought provoking approaches that reflect the depth that comes from this approach.
Research on how to instill ethical behaviour in our children consistently shows that the most effective approach is to teach values in a context that promotes reflection and integration into a cohesive value system. Rabbi Gourarie’s book masterfully provides some of the ‘glue’ that promotes an integration of the insights of life-experience, Chassidic wisdom and psychology in the framework of Jewish thought. I strongly recommend this book to anybody who is looking for new perspectives on personal growth and improved relationships.
—David Pelcovitz, Ph.D.
Straus Chair in Psychology and Education,
Yeshiva University, New York, New York
Rabbi Gourarie’s collection of articles is heart-warming. He encourages us to be kind, resilient and forgiving. I wish Rabbi Gourarie all the best and thank him for encouraging us to be our better selves.
Member for Vaucluse
Rabbi Michoel Gourarie has been a voice of reason within the Australian Jewish community for decades.
His regular columns in the Australian Jewish News provide an insight into Judaism that can be understood by those across the religious spectrum.
To have all of Rabbi Gourarie’s writings in one book will be an asset to the community, and an opportunity for people to learn from a respected rabbi and teacher. Shekoyach.
CEO Australian Jewish News
Rabbi Michoel Gourarie and I go back a very long way. In fact, we go back long before we were both born. You see, his family and mine both came from the same little shtetl back in Belarus and I have known his family for generations, literally.
As a young teenager he once assisted me in an interesting Outreach Project back in the late 1970s here in South Africa. We took the huge Mitzvah Tank caravan from Johannesburg to Cape Town, stopping along the way at all the Jewish summer camps, teaching the kids there; and also at Plettenburg Bay, a popular Jewish holiday destination in the summer. Eventually we parked on Beach Road in Cape Town where many thousands of Jews holiday in the summer and we offered Mitzvahs like Tefillin and distributed lots of literature.
So I have been following the developing career of Rabbi Gourarie for a long time. When he began posting his weekly messages, I subscribed. In fact, I use his material frequently both for my own sermons and lectures, and especially in our Shul’s weekly Shabbos newsletter. In fact, we have invited him on a few occasions as a Scholar in Residence to our own Shul.
He is blessed with a very uncommon gift – common sense! His teachings and messages ring true with the lessons of a life lived consciously, thoughtfully, and mindfully. In fact, he was mindful long before it became a buzz word.
I therefore have much pleasure in recommending Rabbi Gourarie’s first published offering. I hope many more will follow.
—Rabbi Yossy Goldman
Senior Rabbi of Johannesburg’s Sydenham Highlands North Hebrew Congregation since 1986
President of the SA Rabbinical Association
If we are fortunate in our lives somewhere along the way we encounter at least a few special people who change us in powerful, positive, and sometimes unexpected ways. One such person I have been blessed to have in my life is Rabbi Gourarie.
For the past 10 years I have attended Rabbi Gourarie’s Thursday morning women’s shiur. It is the best hour of my week. We come along because all of us have a yearning for a more meaningful and successful life. We have been inspired by different philosophies and ideas, but always including the most important book of all and that is the Torah. Judaism has taught me that the most important thing in my life is our moral values and not our personal feelings. It also teaches us wisdom and so much more.
So thank you Rabbi Gourarie for helping me with tools to lead what everyone desires; health, happiness, security and peace of mind.
Rabbi Michoel Gourarie has been at the forefront of teaching Torah and revealing its light and wisdom to the Jewish community of Sydney. It’s wonderful now that his insights and inspiring ideas on personal growth can be made available to an even wider audience who can benefit from his standing as a Torah scholar of excellence and his strong and compassionate leadership.
—Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein
Chief Rabbi of South Africa