From the Publisher
"A window into the heart and soul of a man who models what it means to be a rabbi…. You will be touched by [his] gentle, lighthearted and compassionate ... Truth."
—Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, coauthor, Jewish with Feeling and A Heart Afire; author, First Steps to a New Jewish Spirit
"A wonderful collection of classic Kushner wit and wisdom. He has a gift for presenting profound ideas in phrase and story that speak to our lives."
—Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus, president, Central Conference of American Rabbis; rabbi, B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, Homewood, Illinois
“Larry Kushner experiences Jewish life with … an extra measure of soul. Where we find closed doors, he finds open possibilities. Where we see endings, he perceives new beginnings. With love and humor, he invites us to see our Jewish lives through new eyes.”
—Rabbi Edward Feinstein, editor, Jews and Judaism in the 21st Century: Human Responsibility, the Presence of God and the Future of the Covenant
“So witty and entertaining that you won't want to put [it] down. [Its] deep wisdom and clear insight sneak up on you while you’re chuckling.”
—Rabbi David A. Teutsch, PhD, author, Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope, Commitment and Joy
In a breezy, accessible, and colloquial style, Kushner brings together excerpts from stories, reviews, essays, and speeches written during his 28 years as a congregational rabbi and his current tenure as scholar-in-residence at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco. He has grouped the material into six categories: rabbi, Judaism, family, world, mysticism, and holiness. Although Kushner was educated as a Reform rabbi, he cites Orthodox and Conservative sources as well as a number of other traditional authorities. His interest in Jewish mysticism is a further indication of his deviation from the customary intellectual and spiritual sources of a Reform rabbi. Disguising the profundity of his thoughts by lighthearted presentation, Kushner tackles such complicated issues as the role of the rabbi, intermarriage, observance of the Jewish dietary laws, parent-child relationships, Jewish-Gentile differences, Kabbalah, prayer, and death. In each instance, his wisdom, his realism, and the sources he calls upon demonstrate the depth and perceptiveness of his approach to difficult problems. One essence of genius is to make complex issues simple. Kushner superbly passes this test. (Oct.)
Rabbi Kushner (Emanu-El Scholar, Congregation Emanu-El; Kabbalah: A Love Story) here assembles 30 years' worth of essays and observations, both personal reflections and speeches for congregations. The book is a kind of successor to Eyes Remade for Wonder: A Lawrence Kushner Reader (1998). Kushner finds one common thread in this compilation of disparate pieces: "The goal of all spiritual life is to get your ego out of the way." VERDICT In this new collection, Kushner supplies a familiar, comforting, yet invigorating assembly of reflections for the Jewish reader, the subtitle notwithstanding.