The Choosing: A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days

Overview

A young Lutheran girl grows up on Long Island, New York. She aspires to be a doctor, and is on the fast track to marriage and the conventional happily-ever-after. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Meet Andrea Myers, whose coming-of-age at Brandeis, conversion to Judaism, and awakening sexual identity make for a rich and well-timed life in the rabbinate.

In The Choosing, Myers fuses heartwarming anecdotes with rabbinic insights and generous dollops of ...

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The Choosing: A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days

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Overview

A young Lutheran girl grows up on Long Island, New York. She aspires to be a doctor, and is on the fast track to marriage and the conventional happily-ever-after. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Meet Andrea Myers, whose coming-of-age at Brandeis, conversion to Judaism, and awakening sexual identity make for a rich and well-timed life in the rabbinate.

In The Choosing, Myers fuses heartwarming anecdotes with rabbinic insights and generous dollops of humor to describe what it means to survive and flourish on your own terms. Portioned around the cycle of the Jewish year, with stories connected to each of the holidays, Myers draws on her unique path to the rabbinate--leaving behind her Christian upbringing, coming out as a lesbian, discovering Judaism in college, moving to Israel, converting, and returning to New York to become a rabbi, partner, and parent.

Myers relates tales of new beginnings, of reinventing oneself, and finding oneself. Whether it's a Sicilian grandmother attempting to bake hamantaschen on Purim for her Jewish granddaughter, or an American in Jerusalem saving a chicken from slaughter during a Rosh Hashanah ritual, Myers keeps readers entertained as she reflects that spirituality, goodness, and morality can and do take many forms. Readers will enthusiastically embrace stories of doors closing and windows opening, of family and community, of integration and transformation. These captivating narratives will resonate and, in the author's words, "reach across coasts, continents, and generations."

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Editorial Reviews

New York Jewish Week

"Rabbi Myers' memoir is joyful, but hers is a hard-won joy, and her brand of Judaism is embracing of all."
Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review

"Filled with wisdom, humor, and the kind of contentment that only comes when an author has found his or her rightful place in the world, The Choosing is one of those books that leaves you feeling odly serene."
Edge Publications

"On a number of levels The Choosing was a fascinating read. The personal studies, interwoven with the search for religious conversion, make the balance of the piece hard to put down. Rabbi Myers' double journey dovetails beautifully to a very poignant, succinct final statement for the reader to reach."
Emeritus Professor of Jewish Philosophy, Jewish Theological Seminary of America - Rabbi Neil Gillman

"How does the daughter of a Sicilian Catholic mother and a German Lutheran father, a lesbian parent of two children, and a convert to Judaism, become a rabbi? Andrea Myers tells you how in this utterly delightful account of her odyssey from Queens and Long Island, through four years at Brandeis, visits to Germany and Oxford and studying in Jerusalem, to her current home in New York. This account of the trials and tribulations of a gutsy young woman with a perceptive eye, a gift for story-telling, and a determination to do whatever has to be done to overcome whatever stands in her way of achieving her dream of becoming a devoted teacher of Judaism. The episodes in this tale structured around the festivals of the Jewish year and incorporating vignettes of her family's growing acceptance of what their daughter has done with her life, are simply a joy to read. More she stands as a paradigm of how a modern young American woman shapes her life experience."
Judy Gold

"My favorite Jewish lesbian used to be me until I read The Choosing. Rabbi Myers's journey from Baptism to rabbinical school is a must read."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813549576
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 765,948
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


RABBI ANDREA MYERS has shared her unique stories around the world. After receiving her BA in neuroscience from Brandeis University, she studied for two years in Jerusalem, and was ordained at the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR), an interdenominational seminary in New York City, where she later joined the faculty and administration and served as the copresident of the Association of Rabbis and Cantors. Rabbi Myers is a member of the New York Board of Rabbis. She currently lives in New York City, and has led congregations from the Rocky Mountains to the Borscht Belt.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

Author's Note xiii

Prologue 1

1 Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: Bird in Hand 3

2 The Secular New Year: Happy New Year 13

3 The New Year for Trees: The Lance and the Twig 19

4 The New Year for Animals: Because No One Is Allergic to Butterflies 39

5 Sukkot: Wild Turkey 54

6 Chanukah: Miller Light 78

7 Purim: Surprise Endings 94

8 Passover: I'll Be Home for Pesach 109

9 Lag B'Omer: The Work of the Chariot 118

10 Shavuot: Take Two Tablets 122

11 Tisha B'Av: Broken Sound 152

12 Elul: Hit-or-Mitzvah 167

13 Purim Katan: Customs and Gratuities Included 179

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    Read this book!

    With the masterful writing of Rabbi Myers, to quote from her last lines, "labels fade .... The stories take center stage." This story of Rabbi Myers' journey through her life and to her Jewish calling is magically woven with text from many sources. This is a story which must be read by anyone who reflects on his or her life, its meaning and how to be happy. Also it is a story which will resonate with anyone who has given any thought to his or her own identity, whether it is religious, spiritual, position in family or world or sexual orientation. Rabbi Myers draws you into her story and compels you the reader to think of your own. I was moved to thought, introspection and great smiles.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND - definitely a great book

    I found myself laughing out loud and also crying several times while reading this book. So much love and acceptance and humor throughout it and I liked the way it was all built around the Jewish calendar of the holidays. The stories seem too funny to be true but they truly reflect abounding love and generosity of spirit on all sides. Have bought copies for friends and lent my copy out already twice. Randomly, I keep conjuring up various images from the book and find myself smirking ever since I read it last month. enjoy!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    A wonderful read!

    Rabbi Myers teaches us as she shares her real life stories of family, career and personal challenges. And all the while we are laughing and learning with her. Mazel Tov on a lovely memoir from my favorite storyteller!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2011

    Too wonderful to miss!

    This book is a delight to read. I can't stop laughing out loud, with a few tears thrown in to round out the experience. Andrea Myers takes us along on her journey with wit and wisdom. As she explores and embraces her own identity we can feel the parallels in our own lives, and feel our hearts swell with the love and acceptance that permeates her story. It's the kind of book that stays with you. What a joy to laugh so much and then come out the other side of the experience feeling a little wiser for it. My biggest conflict is who to share the book with first! Must order more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2011

    I loved it!

    Very insightful, warm, and intertaining. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    Highly recommended!

    "The Choosing" is a wonderfully written and highly entertaining memoir. I love how Rabbi Myers weaves her stories in and out of the Jewish year and, in the process, creates a tapestry of a life that is at once playfully irreverent and poignantly spiritual. To be able to lose oneself so completely in order to discover the essence of who one really is, is a huge gift that Rabbi Myers finds for herself and ultimately gives to us. I laughed, I cried--Rabbi Myers is a master storyteller!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2011

    Highly recommended reading - funny and moving stories about life, love and conversion!

    The book covers a wide variety of issues - the author's journey to Judaism, very funny stories of growing up in New York to a family with a mix of religious backgrounds, her coming out as gay, all written with a wry sense of humour that will keep you laughing throughout.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    One of the funniest and most heartwarming books I have ever read.

    Let me start by saying that this is my first review of anything, alas when I put this book down, I felt it would be a disservice to readers everywhere if they did not know about this treasure of a book. If you're reading this, stop reading and get this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    A joy to read

    Rabbi Myers offers a memoir written in bite size chapters loosely based on the Jewish calendar. Enjoy each chapter for the message, insight and humor as you find yourself in her family's stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

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    Posted May 7, 2011

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