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And They Shall Be My People: An American Rabbi and His Congregation

Overview

"A WONDERFUL BOOK...Lucid, compassionate, inspiring, touching, affecting, extraordinarily well-written and well-reported."
—Chicago Tribune
Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, though not famous or especially distinguished, is an extraordinary individual—a spiritual leader deeply committed to his congregation in Worcester, Massachusetts; a Jewish scholar steeped in ancient tradition; an American man all too familiar with the temptations of an affluent, secular society. Award-winning author Paul Wilkes spent a year with Rabbi ...
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And They Shall Be My People: An American Rabbi and His Congregation

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Overview

"A WONDERFUL BOOK...Lucid, compassionate, inspiring, touching, affecting, extraordinarily well-written and well-reported."
—Chicago Tribune
Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, though not famous or especially distinguished, is an extraordinary individual—a spiritual leader deeply committed to his congregation in Worcester, Massachusetts; a Jewish scholar steeped in ancient tradition; an American man all too familiar with the temptations of an affluent, secular society. Award-winning author Paul Wilkes spent a year with Rabbi Rosenbaum—silently observing his life and work, getting to know his congregation, listening in as he performed the myriad tasks both spiritual and practical that occupy a rabbi's long day. This fascinating, thought-provoking book is at once an intimate portrait of a year in a rabbi's life and a vivid account of the state of American Judaism today.
"The heart of his book is the story of a community acting out the dilemma and contradictions of its dual identity....[It is] a useful contribution to the ethnography of modern religious life."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Sensitive and insightful...This is a strong and honest book, and finishing it one can't help but admire Rosenbaum, his long-suffering wife and a patient and observant author for embarking on this journey."
—Newsday
"To call this a 'revealing portrait' is an understatement. It is a mirror of organized Jewish life."
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The award-winning author of The Death and Life of a Parish Priest spent a year with Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, a spiritual leader deeply committed to his congregation in Worcester, Massachusetts. The result of this encounter is a funny, moving, fascinating book--an intimate portrait of a modern rabbi's life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wilkes spent a year with Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, leader of Congregation Beth Israel, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Worcester, Mass. This report is a searching meditation based on the assumption that American Jewry is fragmented, diluted and facing a precarious future. Rabbi Rosenbaum, who zealously attempts to reach alienated Jews and to nudge the marginally observant toward greater commitment, emerges as confident yet deeply frustrated as he copes with intermarriages, declining membership, a stagnant budget and the resentment of congregants uncomfortable with his demands for stricter observance. A congregational trip to Israel unleashes pent-up emotions in the rabbi and his wife, Janine, who contemplate relocating there. For most of the book, Janine seems bitterly disillusioned and peeved at her frequently absent husband. Wilkes In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest, who is Catholic, brings a sympathetic perspective to this probe. Oct.
Library Journal
Wilkes In Mysterious Ways, Random, 1990 here follows Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum of conservative Congregation Beth Israel in Worcester, Massachusetts, on his daily rounds over the course of a year. Rosenbaum is a young, committed rabbi, passionate about raising the level of observance of his rather lax and well-to-do congregants. His efforts typify the underappreciated efforts of many of the rabbinate to make inroads into secular American culture. Rosenbaum's efforts meet with great resistance. The reader sees how the work of a rabbi can be an all-consuming one, leaving little time for privacy and undistracted time with family. While this easy-to-read study does not break any new ground, it does underscore the many issues in contemporary Jewish life. Recommended for libraries that serve a Jewish clientele.-Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib, Ill.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802137258
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.01 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    Amazing yearly account of the life of a rabbi

    This book is phenomenal! I finished it in 4 days because it was too good to put down I would read for several hours at a time. A great account of the daily highs and lows for a Conservative Rabbi over the course of a year. As a Jew, it is truly sad to see the lack of faith and participation that this rabbi's congregation, and other congregations US wide, have.

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