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LMU Scholar Inspires Interfaith Dialogue Through Book of Meditations


One of the inspirations behind Professor Debra Linesch’s new book of meditations,  “Panim el Panim: Facing Genesis, Visual Midrash” (Marymount Institute Press) came from the institutional support she received at Loyola Marymount University.

“There is so much fear and misunderstanding centered around the otherness of different faith traditions. We are missing the point of being a faith-based institution if the university cannot start a conversation about these issues,” said Linesch, who is the chair of the Graduate Department of Marital and Family Therapy and an art therapist. “LMU has been so supportive of helping me explore and open up my Jewish voice.”

The book, with artwork by Evelyn Stettin, is an introspective response to the Torah. It’s an exploration from the art therapy perspective of the powerful relationship between the words of the Torah and the imagery those words inspire. “Panim el Panim,” or “Face to Face,” is the first book of its kind to explore the potential for Visual Midrash in the contemporary bustle of our daily lives.

“The book is intended for people who are curious about experiencing sacred texts using psychological and creative methods, and finding meaning in the process,” Linesch said.

“Panim el Panim” doesn’t tell you what to believe, or how to think about religion, it provides you with the tools of faith from the Jewish perspective. The Visual Midrash is an open invitation to go on a journey with your senses to find inner peace no matter your spiritual orientation or ideology.

Linesch feels this book, like her many others, expresses the transition of her experiences as a clinical professional, professor, mother and self-aware adult. The book is the culmination of knowledge won by years of integrative experiences in a multi-disciplinary field.

 “‘Panim el Panim’ is my way of discovering the great traditions of my religion, while engaging the greater community in a thoughtful interfaith discussion about healing, human experience and the power of faith,” Linesch said.

 “Panim el Panim” is the second book in Marymount Institute Press’s series, Robert B. Lawton, S.J., Studies in Faith, Culture, and the Arts. For more information or to purchase a copy of the book, please click here.