Rabbi Mark Wildes is an adjunct lecturer in the Rabbinic Training Program at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS), from which he received semicha [rabbinic ordination]. He is also founder and director of Manhattan Jewish Experience (MJE), described as “a warm and open community where millennial men and women in their 20s and 30s can explore Jewish life and meet new people.”
His newest book, The 40 Day Challenge (published by Kodesh Press), offers daily Jewish insights to help people prepare for the High Holidays. Each chapter offers a spiritual lesson, culminating with Yom Kippur, the most religiously significant day on the Jewish calendar. It draws on ancient and classical sources like the Talmud and Maimonides, historical lessons from Abraham Lincoln, Alfred Nobel and the Holocaust as well as discussions of contemporary cultural icons like Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady and The Bachelorette winner Zac Clark.
“I have always believed that when you show people the beauty and wisdom of Torah, they will run to it. People are looking to connect to something beyond the daily grind, something to uplift them, especially in times of crisis.” Wildes said. “You don’t have to push people. You just have to share the light of Torah and show how it is relevant to everyone’s life, no matter what challenges we all face.”
Alec Goldstein, founder of Kodesh Press, said, “Rabbi Wildes has dedicated his life to transforming the lives of young professionals where they are—in the heart of Manhattan—and helps connect them to their heritage, so given the opportunity to work with him, I jumped at the chance. The 40 Day Challenge represents Rabbi Wildes at his finest—the daily entries are accessible, informative, and humorous. Each short entry is a simple step to emotional and spiritual growth—something so many people are looking for, regardless of their level of observance.”
The book offers numerous elements of introspection, including strategies to overcome anger, how to judge others favorably, and how to develop a deeper sense of gratitude for fellow human beings and for God.
The 40 Day Challenge is an excellent follow-up to his first book, Beyond the Instant: Jewish Wisdom for Lasting Happiness in a Fast-Paced Social Media World, which warns against a reliance on technology that risks dehumanizing our interpersonal relationships and presents ten different ideas from the Torah on achieving long term happiness.
This book will also have an interactive component: the Facebook group “The 40 Day Challenge with Rabbi Mark Wildes” will have a daily discussion prompt during this year’s 40-day period to engage and hold accountable those on this transformational journey.
To book an interview with Rabbi Mark Wildes or receive a review copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 819-3611 or (914) 714-0279.