Aaron Zerah is chancellor of Interfaith Seminaries, president of Spirit of Interfaith, Inc., and author of How the Children Became Stars: A Family Treasury of Stories, Prayers, and Blessings from Around the World. He is busy doing pioneer work in post-denominational religion where openness and hospitality are more than nice philosophical concepts — they are spiritual practices that are paving the way into a future of sharing and cooperative ventures.

Zerah begins this valuable volume with these words: "In our hearts, we know that in times of grief there is simply nothing that can be said. Still, throughout the ages, people from every place on the earth have, like you and me, wrestled with the reality of death and loss. Out of this struggle prayers, stories, lamentations, poems, and wisdom teachings have arisen that traditionally have comforted the soul."

The author has gathered consoling words from a variety of sources including Native Americans, Africans, Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Jews, and Christians. The material is divided into four thematic sections: "Allow Yourself to Grieve," "Make a Place for Hope," "Take Heart, You Are Not Alone," and "Your Beloved Is Living in the Joy of God." Many of the Jewish and Christian words will be familiar to readers, but others are less known, including a few Native American and African songs, a Japanese story, and several Hindu selections.