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Little Free Library

by Rabbi Rami ShapiroApril 29, 2012

I spent the last three days with my friend and teacher, Andrew Harvey, at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville. He was our guest speaker for Wisdom House's annual Mystic Heart Retreat. (Next April we are hosting Matthew Fox).

One of the things Andrew asked us to do is discover what we were most passionate about and then engage with that passion for the good of the planet. I have two passions: books and dogs. I chose to begin with books.

Tomorrow morning I will be opening a free library on my front lawn. This is a small book house where neighbors can share with one another books they love. When I was a congregational rabbi, my community created People of the Books, an organization that worked with kindergarten and first grade teachers in some of Miami's poorer schools to buy new books for their students to own and read. For some kids these were the first books they ever owned. Eventually People of the Books expanded in a larger literacy program, but I always loved the idea of placing books in the hands of little kids. So now I am doing it again, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The "library" will hold a dozen books or so, and I hope little kids and their parents will drop by and take the books and add books of their own. If you would like to learn more about this project check out the website at

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art: Shattering the Illusion of Control and Falling into Grace with Twelve-Step Spirituality.

He has this to say about religion: “To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence.”

Register now for Rabbi Rami's new online course, The Sacred Art of Forgiveness

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