Books 2019-04-17T18:34:45+00:00

More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us

E very one of us sooner or later walks through hell. The hell of being hurt, the hell of hurting another. The hell of disease, the hell of loss. The hell of knowing that this year, like any year, may be our last. But we need not come out empty-handed. In the spirit of such classics as When Bad Things Happen to Good People, A Grief Observed, and When Things Fall Apart, More Beautiful Than Before examines the many ways we can transform physical, psychological, and emotional pain into a more authentic, meaningful life.

As the leader of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, one of America’s largest and most important congregations, located in the heart of Los Angeles, Rabbi Steve Leder has witnessed a lot of pain. It’s his phone that rings when people’s bodies or lives fall apart.

After 27 years of listening, comforting, and holding so many who suffered, he thought he understood pain and its challenges—but when it struck hard in his own life and brought him to his knees, a new understanding unfolded before him as he felt pain’s profound effects on his body, spirit, and soul.

Now, in this elegantly concise, beautifully written, and deeply inspiring book, Steve Leder guides us through pain’s stages of surviving, healing, and growing to help us all and meaning in our suffering. Drawing on his experience as a spiritual leader, the wisdom of ancient traditions, modern science, and stories from his own life and others’, he shows us that when we must endure, we can, and that there is a path for each of us that leads from pain to wisdom. “Pain cracks us open,” he writes. “It breaks us. But in the breaking, there is a new kind of wholeness.” This powerful book will inspire in us all a life worthy of our suffering; a life gentler, wiser, and more beautiful than before.

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 I recommend this powerful book by my dear friend, Rabbi Steve Leder. It is filled not with theory, but with time-tested wisdom that can only come from years of experience helping people. This is such a beautiful book! It is the voice of experience, from a wounded healer who is both realistic and hopeful. I love Steve Leder, I love his congregation, and I loved reading this book! But don’t just read it, buy a copy for a friend.

#1 New York Times bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life

 Steve Leder is an extraordinary man, with a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. In this book, he teaches us how to not just survive suffering, but indeed, how to thrive from it.

PBS Talk Show Host, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Covenant with Black America

 Rabbi Leder has written an uplifting and hopeful work about the most tough and difficult of subjects–how we can be transformed by the most difficult trials that face us during our lives. His stories and insights are deep and true. This is an important and very human book.

Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation

 Rabbi Leder is everything we search for in a modern wise man; learned, kind, funny and non-judgmental, he offers remarkably healing guidance&ellipsis he finds the true fabric of our spiritual lives.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright


Don’t miss out on your chance to read these other compassionately voiced books written by Steve Leder, whose words of wisdom can heal us all.

More Money Than God: Living a Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul

I n this beautifully written and moving book, author Steven Leder uses his 15 years of experience as a religious leader and spiritual counselor to tackle the questions with which all of us wrestle on a daily basis: How to keep money from being a focal point, how to understand the difference between wants and needs, what kind of moral code to live by while seeking the comfort that money brings, how to teach children about values involving money, and more.

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The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things

F inding meaning in the mundane is a matter of knowing where to look. Herewith, the miraculous nature of everyday life is explored. Through vignettes at turns funny and poignant, Rabbi Leder points out those easily overlooked connections between everyday experiences and the teachings of Judaism. God and spirituality can be found in every aspect of our daily routines. Ordinary things–a pet frog, a weekend fishing trip, a roller coaster ride–become extraordinary when reexamined through Jewish eyes. Woven throughout Rabbi Leder’s essays are midrashic texts, talmudic excerpts, and passages from the Torah, reflecting thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. Whether recalling a memorable walk along the beach with Dad, teaching a child the commandment of tzedakah, or stepping into the shoes of an anxious father-to-be as he paces the halls of the maternity ward, these stories reveal Judaism’s power to illuminate our lives. On child-rearing: Eleven Suggestions for Raising a Mensch. On the paradox of modern life: You can’t put one tuchus in two chairs. On miracles: The miraculous is the common and the constant: birth, teaching, our breath. Discover The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things.

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