On Repentance and Repair UU Common Read Discussion Guides and Resources

A book cover for "On Repentance and Repair" on the left side and a photo of author Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, a white woman with straight brown hair and bangs, wearing glasses, on the right side.

The UU Common Read of On Repentance and Repair explores the writings of the 12th century Jewish physician and scholar, Maimonides. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg offers a contemporary, lively interpretation of the ancient text, inviting people of any and all faiths toward accountability practices that can transform our relationships and help to make us whole.

Purchase the book from inSpirit, the UU Book and Gift Shop. The audiobook, narrated by Shelly Sheckell, is available from Libro.FM and other sources.

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

This Common Read offers a glimpse into one of our faith’s foundational sources, Judaism. Readers follow the author, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, into a framework for making amends offered by the 12th century Jewish physician and scholar, Maimonides.

Written for people of any or no faith tradition, On Repentance and Repair introduces 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 Materials: Three Workshops

The discussion materials for this UU Common Read invite participants to apply the book to their own experiences. The workshops explore repentance and repair in (1) interpersonal relationships, (2) communal spaces, such as our congregations, and (3) wider communities, such as nations, and systems we are part of. Using a small group ministry format, participants gather online or in person for one, two, or three workshops facilitated by religious professionals or lay leaders.

Please read the Introduction to Discussion Materials. It contains important guidance for planning, promoting, and facilitating these workshops.

Workshop 1 can be offered as two 75-minute gatherings—Part I and Part II—or by combining Parts I and II for a half-day Common Read.

UU groups are encouraged to do Workshop 1 first, then move on to Workshops 2 and 3.

Workshop 2 will especially appeal to congregational committees, boards or action groups working toward right relations in covenanted community.

Workshop 3 offers a deep dive into accountability and repair for UUs committed to transformative justice-making in our systems, nation, and world.

Video: Explore and Share

Please preview the video resources for On Repentance and Repair. You may choose to share links to the videos to promote your UU Common Read; suggest participants watch a video before gathering for Workshop 1; schedule an additional meeting as a watch party; or, incorporate a video into a congregational worship service or leadership meeting.

  • 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 the social and personal transformations that can make ourselves more whole and the world better and more fair. This homily was offered to the UUs for Jewish Awareness (UUJA) Shabbat worship service at the 2023 General Assembly; the entire service can be viewed as a Facebook post (52:37).
  • Video. 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 (Facebook, 31 min.).
    Download and read a transcript of their conversation (Word), 9 pages).
  • Video. Author Neil Gaiman talks about the book with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. (Facebook, 57:20)