Pathways: Jews Who Return

Overview

Known as baalei teshuvah "those who return," formerly secular and marginally religious Jews are returning to embrace traditional Judaism and reclaiming it as an enriching and viable way of life. Pathways: Jews Who Return is a collection of first-person oral histories that illuminates the journey.

Many of those interviewed came from secular American homes, some had a more informed Jewish background. Whether they were actively searching for spiritual fulfillment or stumbled upon ...

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Overview

Known as baalei teshuvah "those who return," formerly secular and marginally religious Jews are returning to embrace traditional Judaism and reclaiming it as an enriching and viable way of life. Pathways: Jews Who Return is a collection of first-person oral histories that illuminates the journey.

Many of those interviewed came from secular American homes, some had a more informed Jewish background. Whether they were actively searching for spiritual fulfillment or stumbled upon their Jewish heritage, these baalei teshuvah were ultimately all inspired to lead lives infused with Torah regardless of the difficulties or challenges they faced in rearranging their lives to align with Torah values.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ever since the publication of Wade Clark Roof's Generation of Seekers, American culture has kept an eye on baby boomers and others who are returning to religion or otherwise seeking a sense of heritage, rootedness and meaning in life. This book looks at those who, though raised Jewish, left the practice of Judaism for some time and later returned to the faith as Orthodox Jews. The stories of these ba'alei teshuvah ("those who return") are chronicled here by Greenberg, a journalist who made his own return to Judaism through Orthodoxy. His own sympathies sometimes prevent him from asking hard questions of his subjects. Women, for instance, are asked about feminism and Orthodoxy, but men are never asked how they feel about the roles assigned to them by their religion. Nonetheless, the stories of the 31 people interviewed provide a fascinating portrait of the paths that led people into Orthodoxy, and the myriad ways they struggle in the process of learning to be observant Jews. (Feb.)
Library Journal
In this book of interviews, Greenberg, a freelance author and editor, explores the phenomenon of secular or marginally affiliated Jews who embrace traditional or Orthodox Judaism. Greenberg has embraced Orthodox Judaism and his enthusiasm is shared by the people he has interviewed, mostly middle-aged professional men and women who have turned to Orthodox Judaism through a rediscovery of spiritual roots. For instance, the film critic Michael Medved tells how his family's Passover ceremony became a catalyst in his life. For many, the choice to live an Orthodox Jewish life has not been without difficulty, sometimes causing estrangement from family, friends, and colleagues. This collection is most suitable for those contemplating a similar turning in their own lives. It has a very select audience and it is an optional purchase for libraries serving a Jewish clientele. For a look at another aspect of orthodox Jewish expression, libraries should consider Samuel Heilman's more scholarly though readable study, Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry (LJ 2/1/92).-Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., Ill.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568219905
  • Publisher: Aronson, Jason Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Road Less Traveled 3
2 The Ba'al Teshuvah Movement: An Overview 12
3 What Exactly Is a Ba'al Teshuvah? 23
4 The Stories 28
5 The View from the Top 33
6 Meaninglessness Meets Its Match 38
7 A Spiritual "Evolutionary" 49
8 Guess Who Came to Dinner? 57
9 A Jew for Judaism 65
10 Frum Before He Knew It 72
11 The Searcher 82
12 Never Say Never 91
13 Born Again 98
14 Abba Knows Best 107
15 The Return Flight 114
16 Seeing Is Believing 119
17 A Messenger Who Forgot the Message 125
18 Upward Bound 132
19 A One-Way Ticket 143
20 The Incredible Expanding Man 151
21 Taking It to the Streets 158
22 The Art of Being in the Right Place 164
23 Collared at the Wall 173
24 Making It in the Midbar 182
25 Seder Story 189
26 Spiritual Healing 197
27 Bottoming Out 203
28 An Ode to Grandma Batya 216
29 A Rational Choice 223
30 The Best-Laid Plans 230
31 Going Home 239
32 Art, You Look Like A Jew 247
33 The Taste of Shabbos 260
34 A Change of Tune 268
35 Dr. Kahn's Legacy 276
Glossary 283
References 295
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