The UU Common Read

A graphic illustration shows the head and shoulders of nine different adults in individual squares, as in an online meeting.

A UU Common Read creates community for learning and reflection, whether we gather in person or online.

When we do a UU Common Read together, we share in reflection, learning, and action. A UU Common Read can take us on a powerful journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a world filled with both pain and joy.

Common Read 2023-24: On Repentance and Repair by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

The 2023-34 UU Common Read is On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (Beacon Press, 2022).

a book cover

2023-24 UU Common Read

Purchase On Repentance and Repair by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg from InSpirit, the UUA Book and Gift Shop. Bulk discounts available.

This Common Read offers a glimpse into one of our faith’s foundational sources, Judaism. Readers explore the call to accountability in our personal and public lives as we follow Rabbi Ruttenberg into a framework for making amends offered by the 12th century Jewish physician and scholar, Maimonides.

On Repentance and Repair invites readers of any faith to explore practices for accountability that can bring us into wholeness and make a difference in our personal, community, and national relationships. Purchase On Repentance and Repair from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop. Discounts on bulk orders of 10 or more books. An audiobook, narrated by Shelly Sheckell, is available from Libro.FM and other sources.

Discussion Guides


  • Video. A Journey of Repentance and Repair at All Souls Tulsa (Vimeo, 56:00). Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, the author, talks with the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister at All Souls, and Nehemiah Frank, a member of All Souls and the publisher of the Black Wall Street Times.
  • Homily: On Repentance and Repair (Vimeo, 14:15) The Rev. Alison Miller, Senior Minister at First Unitarian, Portland, OR, connects On Repentance and Repair with a Unitarian Universalist yearning for social and personal transformations that can make ourselves and our world more whole. This homily was offered to the UUs for Jewish Awareness (UUJA) Shabbat worship service at the 2023 General Assembly.
  • Video (Facebook, 31 min.) Pastor Libby Howe of the Wisconsin Council of Churches interviews the author, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, on Ash Wednesday, 2023. The two discuss connections between Christian belief and practice and Maimonides' framework for accountability. Download and read a transcript of their conversation (Word, 9 pages).
  • Video (Facebook, 57:20) Author Neil Gaiman talks about the book with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg.

Using the Common Read Discussion Guides

Please read the Introduction to this Common Read. It contains important guidance for planning, promotion, and workshop facilitation.

This UU Common Read invites participants to apply On Repentance and Repair to their own experiences. Using a small group ministry format, participants gather online or in person for workshops facilitated by religious professionals or lay leaders.

The workshops explore repentance and repair in (1) interpersonal relationships, (2) communal spaces, such as our congregations, and (3) our wider communities, such as nations. Workshop 1 may be offered as two 75-minute gatherings or by combining Parts I and II for a half-day Common Read. UU Common Read groups are encouraged to do Workshop 1 first, then move on to Workshops 2 and 3.

Workshop 2 will have special appeal to committees, boards, and action groups seeking a new, faithful approach to accountability within their congregational communities. The core workshop is 90 minutes. If you use optional activities, it's suggested to do Workshop 2 in two or three gatherings.

Workshop 3 offers a deep dive into accountability and repair for UUs committed to transforming our nation, systems, and world. Some groups will add an optional, additional meeting to make plans and commitments for congregational accountability work.

Preview the video resources!

You might:

  • Share links to the videos when promoting your UU Common Read.
  • Suggest participants watch one or more before gathering for Workshop 1.
  • Schedule an additional meeting as a watch party.
  • Some congregations have incorporated the Rev. Miller's homily into worship.

Previous UU Common Read Selections

2023-24 On Repentance and Repair by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg; UU Common Read resources for On Repentance and Repair

2022-23 Mistakes and Miracles by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin; UU Common Read Mistakes and Miracles resources

2021-22 Defund Fear by Zach Norris; UU Common Read Defund Fear resources

2020-21 Breathe by Imani Perry; UU Common Read Breathe resources

2019-20 An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People  adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019); UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 37 pages)

2018-19 Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom; UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 34 pages)

2017-18 Centering (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 28 pages)) and Daring Democracy (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 31 pages))

2016-17 The Third Reconstruction by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 27 pages))

2015-16 Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (UU Common Read discussion materials)

2014-15 Reclaiming Prophetic Witness by Paul Rasor (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages))

2013-14 Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages))

2012-13 The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 19 pages))

2011-12 Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 17 pages))

2010-11 The Death of Josseline by Margaret Regan (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 28 pages))