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Prepent 5774: Day 24, Cultural Inspirations

Looking back on the year: what books, movies, or TV shows inspired you?

Amichai Lau-Lavie
August 31, 2013

Journey into the High Holidays with Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of Storahtelling and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. It’s a daily dose of inspiration to get you focused and ready for the new year, featuring daily intentions, simple tasks, and tools for living better.

I got an Amazon alert yesterday: one of my favorite authors, Dara Horn, just published a new book, A Guide for the Perplexed. I promised myself I’d get it as a post-Prepent treat. Soon I’ll have time to put out down theology and self-help books and get back to fiction. The bedside pile awaits.

Day 24: On the third Prepent Shabbat, I’m taking time to think about mental nourishment. Today’s task: list the top five cultural inspirations from this past year—what fed my soul and is worthy of reflection, gratitude? What lingers?

Books, movies, theater, TV shows, or art. For me, books stand out—I did a lot of reading, craving fiction in addition to my school work. I particularly enjoyed The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, and Spiritual Radical, a biography of Heschel. A few more in Hebrew, such as Yochi Brandeis’ Akiva’s Orchard, and the gay novel The Army of the Gods.

Downloading the Kindle app changed not just what I read but how I read it. And I have to admit I got into the Game of Thrones craze and watched all three seasons in two months.

Use the Sabbath to make your shortlist of mental nourishment. Then take a walk to think about what these gifts have given you. What changed the way you think or feel or see the world? Did someone recommend a book to read? A play to go to? Did I thank them for the tip?

Most important: Clear some space on your bedside or desktop for next year. Shabbat shalom.

Follow along with the Scroll’s daily Prepent series here.

Amichai Lau-Lavie is the founder of Storahtelling, and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul, an emerging New York City congregation.