Hope Will Find You: My Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living

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How can I get my life off hold?  When will my life really begin? 
We all ask ourselves the same questions when we are struggling to move forward.  As a rabbi, Naomi Levy frequently offered spiritual guidance to people seeking the answers. But when a doctor told her that her young daughter, Noa, had a fatal degenerative disease, Rabbi Levy’s own insights ...
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Hope Will Find You: My Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living

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How can I get my life off hold?  When will my life really begin? 
We all ask ourselves the same questions when we are struggling to move forward.  As a rabbi, Naomi Levy frequently offered spiritual guidance to people seeking the answers. But when a doctor told her that her young daughter, Noa, had a fatal degenerative disease, Rabbi Levy’s own insights could not prevent her whole life from unraveling.
In Hope Will Find You, Naomi Levy shares her journey and the wisdom she gained.  She describes with humor and honesty how she came through a time of uncertainty and fear and learned how to stop waiting for life to begin.  A natural and engaging storyteller, Levy has written a book filled with invaluable lessons for living in the present and for opening the door to an extraordinary future.

Hope Will Find You is a book that will be passed to friends when life gets confusing, a book that will rest on our bedside tables when we are searching for hope and direction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A breathtaking journey of concern and connection, fear and faith. Rabbi Levy lets us in and allows us to see the human face of spirituality."
-Jamie Lee Curtis
"A sign of a great book is that while you're reading it, you're thinking of all the people you are going to give it to, Naomi Levy's Hope Will Find You is that book. This is a deeply affecting memoir that you may want, but you unquestionably need. It blew me away."
-Julie Klam, author Please Excuse My Daughter and You Had Me at Woof
"Naomi Levy gained much wisdom from the tribulations of her own family.  We can gain that wisdom by reading her moving book about it."
-Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“This beautifully written, personal and poignant story carries the universal truth that patient wisdom keeps the doors to celebration and gratitude always open.”
-Sylvia Boorstein, Author of Happiness is an Inside Job
"If you're reading this blurb, then believe me:  This book is extraordinary.  The storytelling is profoundly moving, the message of not giving up or giving in even more so, and Rabbi Naomi Levy's ability to draw out meaning from biblical texts is innovative and profound.  I opened up the book late one evening, and didn't put it down until I finished."
-Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics
“An inspiring, honest and beautifully written memoir; you will be grateful it found you.”
-Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple Los Angeles, author of Why Faith Matters
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385531702
  • Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 524,248
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

NAOMI LEVY, author of the national bestseller To Begin Again and Talking to God, is the founder and leader of NASHUVA, the Jewish spiritual outreach movement. Named one of the 50 top rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine, she was in the first class of women to enter the Conservative rabbinical seminary.  Naomi has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show and NPR.  She lives in Venice, California, with her husband, Rob Eshman, and their children, Adi and Noa.

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Read an Excerpt


One doesn’t know another’s sorrow.
Yiddish proverb

In January 1999 I received a call from a woman named Pam Smith. Pam told me about her twenty-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who was suffering from a fatal degenerative neurological disease. Pam phoned to ask if I would be willing to be the keynote speaker at an A-T fund-raiser she was hosting. I had never heard of the disease. Pam told me ataxia- telangiectasia is a very rare disease affecting only three Caucasian children in a million. Pam said she was inspired by a book I had written.

In 1999 I spent my days writing, delivering lectures around the country, teaching spiritual counseling at a local rabbinical seminary, and together with my husband, Rob, raising our two children, Adi, who was five, and Noa, who was three. I had been a congregational rabbi for seven years, but I chose to leave the congregation so that I could have more flexible hours for writing, for teaching, and for mothering. When I got Pam’s call I was feverishly at work on a new book of prayers, and life was good. I had a wonderful husband and two healthy children.

Of course, I agreed to speak at the A-T fund-raiser, and Pam and I set a time for us all to get together for lunch at a local restaurant. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what a young woman with A-T would look like. On the appointed afternoon a van pulled up in front of the restaurant and Rebecca’s father, George, wheeled her up to the table beside me. She was quite beautiful, with straight shiny dark brown hair, ivory skin, and a glowing smile. When I asked Rebecca about school it was hard to understand what she was saying because her speech was so slurred. I could tell she was getting frustrated because I kept turning to her parents for a translation. Her body had been ravaged by this cruel disease. I could see Rebecca was angry. She was angry to have to be so dependent upon her parents at an age when she needed to rebel and carve out her own identity. All her friends were driving, were at college, were dancing at parties. And she was fighting for life. The pain in her parents’ faces was palpable. Pam said to me, “I don’t have bad days. Every day with Rebecca is a good day.” Yes, Rebecca was a gift. And I’m certain Pam treasured every moment with her. And I could see the sadness behind Pam’s smile. Why should such a blessed child have to suffer so?

Rebecca’s father, George, ran a very successful real-estate financing company. He was a self-made man who was used to getting what he wanted. The tragedy was, he had made enough money to give Rebecca anything her heart desired, but this man who was larger than life was helpless to cure his child. There was no cure for A-T. No treatment.  A diagnosis of A-T was a certain death sentence. Period. George and Pam’s response to all their feelings of helplessness was to create a foundation to raise money for A-T research. Through their foundation they had already raised millions. Yet there was no cure or treatment in sight.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the torment Rebecca and her parents were living with daily. And the hope. Rebecca was considered something of a miracle in the world of A-T. Most kids with A-T don’t make it out of their teens.

On the day of the fund-raiser there must have been seven hundred people gathered together in support of Rebecca and her family. Every speaker talked about hope for finding a cure. They showed a video about Rebecca. I saw her walking around happily as a toddler and then we all watched scenes of her gradual decline, scenes of her bravery and her struggles for life. We watched her riding her horse with such joy. Then I got up and spoke about Rebecca’s courage and her family’s dedication to finding a cure for this horrible disease. That very week was Rebecca’s twenty-first birthday and Pam asked me to bless her. Rebecca slowly came up on stage all by herself with crutches. There was such determination and joy that shone through her eyes. I closed my eyes, put my hands on her head, and blessed her with a birthday blessing. I prayed for Rebecca’s health, for her strength; I prayed for a cure. I could hear the weeping in the room.

What did I believe? Did I believe in a God who could cure Rebecca? Did I believe God would miraculously undo what nature and genes had done? No. Not exactly. But I wanted to believe it. I remembered listening once to a preacher on the radio who said, “If God says you can catch a whale, then start cracking out the tartar sauce!” I prayed for that kind of faith in God’s supernatural powers and at the same time I prayed for Rebecca’s doctors. I hoped scientists could learn to correct the problem, treat the problem, cure the problem.

A scientist named Dr. Becket then took the stage to receive an award for his incredible breakthroughs in A-T research. He played a movie about his lab and the amazing advances he was making with the help of Rebecca’s family. He said there was a blessing in Rebecca having A-T because her illness had led to the funding of such important research. I gasped when he spoke those words. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing good about Rebecca’s A-T. No blessing in it.

I felt so sorry for Rebecca and her family. And yes, I felt so blessed and relieved that my own children were perfectly healthy.

I came home that day from the fund-raiser and wrapped my arms around both my kids and squeezed them with so much gratitude for all our blessings.

Two years passed. It was July 2001.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2011

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    A spiritual blessing many times over. It was so encouraging to read about the Rabbi facing the same life/faith questions as myself.

    It was so encouraging and inspiring to read aboutvthe Rabbi facing the same life/faith questions as myself. The answers she arrives at have such a feeling of rightness. I love that she showed how God answered her questions. I appreciate the wisdom she drew from people in her life- particularly her precious blessings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Rabbi Naomi Levy has a good life.  She is: the first woman admit

    Rabbi Naomi Levy has a good life.  She is: the first woman admitted to a Conservative Rabbinic School, a “rising star” as a Rabbi in a local Synagogue, delightfully married to her best friend, the mother of son, Adi, and daughter, Noa.  When her daughter was six, she is examined, tested, questioned, probed and prodded to determine the cause of her lack of coordination and frequent inability to walk without stumbling.  Initially, she was diagnosed with Ataxia telangiectasia (A-T), a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease causing severe disability, “most kinds with A-T don’t make it out of their teens.” (p.5) such news would shake any parent, causing them to re-evaluate their priorities and face some very scary. For this bright, articulate, faithful woman, some of those questions continue, but she allows the reader into her heart for the seven years between Noa’s diagnosis and the time the doctors said the disease would manifest (a second opinion determined Noa suffered from an undetermined neurological ailment) if that were what she is actually suffering.  
    In her training as a Rabbi, as in all good religious training, Rabbi Levy was confronted with The Questions of one’s soul: How come some parents have to bury their children?  How come some people outlive their family, friends, and capabilities but cannot find the blessed relief of death? What is the difference between what is valuable and what is costly?  I got the feeling, however, it was not until her daughter was threatened by an unnamed ailment that she was able to actually ask those (and like) questions for the first time. The “answers” that she found served as some comfort but they did not resolve the questions - they offered strength, direction, some semblance of order.  She “was having trouble figuring out Who I was praying to and what I was praying for.” While “(she) longed to talk to God, but (she) was too angry to being the conversation,” she found “Noa and God were best of friends, always chatting and whispering secrets” (pp. 55 & 56).  She gained the understanding that it is our job to open our hearts to God, not God’s (p. 105) and that, like Israel just out of Egypt, we are only trapped when we only pray, refusing to “start walking” (133). These are only a few of the nuggets offered within the pages of this work.
    The seven years between diagnosis and the book’s end were painful, enlightening, instructive, defining and “blessed” for Rabbi Levy.  In this superbly written memoir, one is allowed to experience the moments of anguish of such poignancy so as to be stunned to silence; moments of such unexpected brightness it is like looking into the sun; instances of Divine Presence that I felt the need to remove my shoes and occasions of awaking to the miracle of “everyday” that it is Zen-like in its purity.  I will offer this book to those who are wrestling with similar questions, who are wondering if God is and if so, where God is, to those who hunger for a new moment of Spiritual truth.  I would offer them my copy, but it is far too marked up to depart from my hands, at least for a while.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013


    Name:Icestar@Gender:tom@Age:20 moons@Rank:leader@Looks:solid white with a black tail tip and amber eyes@Mate:none@Kits:none

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    This has got to be the best book I have ever read. So very inspirational and thought provoking. Thank you Rabbi Levy.

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