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This is a recorded reading from the author of an essay published in Sources: A Journal of Jewish Ideas, a publication of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.

In this essay, “Variations on the Shema,” Sam Fleischacker meditates on Judaism’s central prayer and statement of faith. Seen through Sam’s eyes, the Shema becomes the thread that guides a Jew from childhood to adulthood and from place to place. He argues that by seeing the Shema in all the ways that our tradition asks us to look at it, from the Haggadah to our farthest travels, we can bring diversity and richness to one of our most familiar rituals, and thereby our lives.

Sources: A Journal of Jewish Ideas is a print and digital award-winning journal promoting informed conversations and thoughtful disagreement about issues that matter to the Jewish community. Our Fall issue on the theme of Danger and Safety will be out in just a few weeks. Find it at, where you can read all of our articles for free and also subscribe to our beautiful printed edition.