Christmas for Joshua

Christmas for Joshua

by Avraham Azrieli

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Life couldn't be better for Rusty Dinwall--a heart surgeon, amateur pianist, and volunteer synagogue president. But when his daughter's wedding takes an unexpected turn, life spins out of control, shattering everything he believes in. A dramatic story with memorable characters, Christmas for Joshua tackles the conflicts inherent to interfaith marriage, modern parenting, and religious intolerance, taking the reader on an entertaining and thought-provoking journey through a uniquely American Christmas experience.
"Christmas for Joshua is a sensational novel [...] filled with religious paradoxes, sure to test any faith. [It is] a wonderful five-star spiritual fiction. Avraham Azrieli proves himself, time and again, to be a popular contemporary writer for our troubled times, as his plots often expose attitudes, beliefs, and actions that contribute to human suffering. Christmas for Joshua is no exception." - Pacific Book Review.
"Have you ever been given a gift and unwrapped it, slowly, enjoying the moment, and then discovering yourself deeply touched by what you found inside? "Christmas for Joshua" is that gift. Through superbly developed characters and a delightfully creative plot, Avraham Azrieli weaves a gentle yet powerful story that closes with yet another gift - the gift of hope." - June Maffin, Bookpleasures.
"For anyone who is Jewish, Orthodox Jewish or of Christian religion this book is the perfect eye-opener. A beautifully written, heartfelt novel." Bee's Knees Reviews

Product Details

BN ID: 2940046562569
Publisher: Avraham Azrieli
Publication date: 01/26/2015
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 958,232
File size: 369 KB

About the Author

Avraham Azrieli, a graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, tried many complex court cases before publishing his first novel, The Masada Complex (a political thriller) in 2010. A full-time author since then, his other books include the Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum headshot(a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). He also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing). Avraham grew up in Israel, where he received extensive Talmudic education, served as an intelligence officer and, after attending law school, clerked for the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Residing primarily in the United States since 1990, he currently lives near Washington DC with his wife, a physician, and their four children. Like Ben Teller, the protagonist in The Mormon Candidate and The Bootstrap Ultimatum, Avraham often rides his motorcycle in the mountainous forests of western Maryland.

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Christmas for Joshua 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
Sproutfinch More than 1 year ago
I read this novel just after the holiday season and I was pleased to find that this is a story for all year round. The way that the conflicts of the characters are each conveyed still rings true in January. Rusty's internal journey is an honest one in the way that his relationship with his own faith and his own family changes throughout the novel. As his circumstances change and his daughter decides to convert to Orthodox Judaism, his path is one that is unpredictable and his negotiation of these changing factors makes for a very real and readable novel. After reading another one of Azrieli's novels, The Masada Complex, I was touched by how different the tone of this novel felt. Christmas for Joshua is sometimes humorous but always heartfelt in dealing with emotionally complex topics.
Susan-Keefe More than 1 year ago
I loved the character of Rusty Dinwall from the very first page. He is a well-respected, compassionate man, a heart surgeon, and a loving husband and father. Indeed, after falling in love with Rebecca, over twenty years before, he even renounced Christianity, embraced her Jewish faith, and is now president of his local Reform synagogue. A happy and contented man leading a devout life, and helping others. This story begins on Thursday September 24th, it is Rosh Hashanah Eve (Jewish New Year). Rusty and his wife Rebecca are looking forward to a Skype call that evening from their daughter Deborah who is away at university, and cannot join them for the celebrations. However, Deborah is not alone when she makes the call, and introduces them to her future husband Mordechai, an Orthodox Jew. Deborah and Mordechai announce that they will be marrying on 20th December in New York, and then coming back to her home in Arizona for their honeymoon. Although initially surprised at the swiftness of the wedding, Rusty and Rebecca arrive in New York excited at the forthcoming celebrations. With their daughter happy and radiant nothing, it would seem could possibly spoil such a perfect day, that is, until Rabbi Mintzberg arrives. When the elderly orthodox Rabbi announces Rusty is a shaygetz (not a full Jew), Rusty is shocked at his words, and dismayed at the ramifications they will have on such a special day. Reeling from the repercussions, hurt, confused and surprised at the reactions of those around him, he suddenly discovers that religious intolerance is evident even within the same faith. Searching for answers, and pondering his past, Rusty decides that he is going to make the young couples celebration of their marriage in his local Reform synagogue, a night to remember, which it is, in more ways than one… As a parent, it is easy to understand both Rusty and Rebecca’s reactions, and ways of coping to the news of Deborah’s rapid marriage, and her decision to become an Orthodox Jew. Their natural reaction is to protect her but as an adult does she need their protection? This book highlights very clearly how hard things can be for mixed faith families at special occasions, specific times of the year, and at family celebrations, which should be happy. However it also celebrates the strength of marriage, and commitment couples should make to each other. This book is very different to the other spy thrillers I have read by this talented author, however, I have to say it is simply a wonderful story which is uplifting, yet heart rendering at the same time, and I would highly recommend it, whatever religion you follow.
katiegracehunter More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this refreshing holiday tale which was anything but typical. The author does a great job of developing the main character.  He is very realistic and I really felt pangs of emotions him in each difficult situation he faced. Like other reviews, I’d hope the author considers writing this same story again through the point of view of the daughter or the son-in-law. It would make for a great follow up to this story. This was a very quick read, and I would recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a good man with noble intentions, a heart surgeon,a father and devoted husband who sacrificed his faith, his belief in Christ, his love for Christmas and converted to Judaism for his wife, only to be ridiculed by his daughter's snotty orthodox new family. First of all I was really mad on Christian Dinwall aka Rusty's behalf because at the end of the day we are ALL the same in GOD'S eyes. We are all humans regardless of our race or religion. The fact that they refused to let him participate in his only child's wedding ceremony made me see 'red' on his behalf. Plus the BS they put him thru and the persuasion to become a 'real Jew' only ridiculed the Jewish belief/faith in my opinion. Then his wife...OMG, I felt like hitting her across the head to make her see how ridiculous and insensitive she was. Then Rabbi Rachel...omg I hope she gets what she deserves. I know it's only a book but things like this happen in real life. This book made me understand some Jewish traditions and beliefs better. This book is a FANTASTIC read, got me making side comments to myself and to people around me, while I read it. It really got to me. I am sure the Vietnamese would appreciate Dr Christian Dinwall (I refuse to call him Rusty, lol) for the awesome human being he is and not his for his wife and new comment. I have read several of Avraham Azrieli's books but this one got me really emotional. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a perfect gift for this holidays. I love, love! how the writer express in this book a complicate situation like religious and different believes can turn in a problem between people. I felt so connected with this story and how he describe all its just delightful. I will definitely recommend this book. Great option to read for any religion person or not religion as well.
Sharronica More than 1 year ago
This story is a bit different from the religious & political thrillers we’re used to from Azrieli. But true to form, it sheds light on different religious sects. It delves into one man’s religious conversion in the name of love. Conversion from one religion to another is a heavy undertaking, not only for the person doing the converting, but also for the families involved. “Christmas for Joshua” is a story that tugs at the heartstrings in unexpected ways. 
LisaR6200 More than 1 year ago
A uniquely American Christmas Story. Interfaith marriages often create their own set of challenges when raising kids as a couple balances the traditions of their youth with the new traditional they want to create as a blended family. Rusty and Rebecca are no exception as they think they have successfully blended Rusty's Catholic faith with Rebecca's Orthodox Jewish upbringing to raise their daughter Debra in a more liberal synagogue in Arizona, one in which a Rusty rises to lead the synagogue as a converted Jew. That is until Debra heads East to med school and when she is close to graduation announces that she is engaged to an Orthodox Jewish boy from school. Rusty feels that she is blinded by love and sets out to prove that not only is the boy she chose not good enough for her, but that she has let love blind her to what it means to give up her religious upbringing. As he works to prove himself right to everyone, he also risks all that is near and dear to him with his intolerant attitude and single mindedness to his goal. How it resolves and where each character ends up in the end will have you reaching for the tissue box and hopefully re-thinking some of your own family relationships.
AcroGodess More than 1 year ago
This is a great story. Perfect for the holiday and I read it aloud to my children. I read it because I am a fan of Azrieli's other books, but if you too are a fan, don't go in expecting more Dan Brown-like work when approaching this story. It does tie into religion, particularly Judaism like his other tales, but that is where the similarities end. This is more of an emotional thriller than a psychological one. The ups and downs of family life entertwined with religion are a roller coaster many families are forced to endure. Sometimes, religion can be a dividing issue and it is up to us to come to terms with it in a fashion that resolves it in a manner best for all parties. Even with Judaism there are chasms difficult to overcome, same as with Christianity. The story blended humor with tear jerking moments perfectly. I liked it a lot and found it reminiscent of other holiday tear jerkers.
MFlo More than 1 year ago
"Christmas for Joshua" is a wonderful story of the difference of religions and the complications that sometimes affect families when this occurs. While set during the holiday season, this story is more so about religion than anything else. This book really made me think about my own life and made me grateful for having such an open-minded family. This is a great read! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Azrieli has done a marvelous job of branching into another genre, seamlessly leaving the thriller storyline and delving into a more domestic, internal plot that still leaves you just as riveted. Told from the first person instead of the third, the struggle takes on a more individual and internal nature as Rusty, a successful surgeon who has converted from Christianity to Judaism, must find his true self despite such higher powers. I really enjoyed how much I felt a part of his life, every meticulous detail and thought given. Azrieli has a way of making his readers feel the most informed without being overwhelmed, and this look into another one of his character's lives proves no different.
SRye More than 1 year ago
"Christmas for Joshua" is a departure from Mr. Azraeli's religious thrillers, but an equally compelling exploration of faith. Christian "Rusty" Dinwall is a surgeon, devoted husband and father, and a converted Jew who has become the president of his synagogue. Mr. Azraeli deftly leads us through the modern dilemmas of faith and relationships that follow his daughter announcing her engagement to an orthodox Jew. Characters and situations ring true, and kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. Enjoy!
Kte5432 More than 1 year ago
Avraham Azrieli has done it again. He has a truly unique way of telling a story routed in religion that captures the reader’s attention and develops a genuine care for the characters. I’ve become an avid reader of Azrieli’s books. While each story is distinct, each novel draws the reader in and develops a genuine care for the characters. Christmas for Joshua examines issues of religious conversion, judgment, and acceptance.
franknbeth More than 1 year ago
WOW !!  What more can I say.  ‘Christmas for Joshua’  by Avraham Azrieli   made me want to scream.  And I don’t even know who to scream at. Is this a true peek into two communities of Judaism?  I was captivated by the fear of Orthodoxy (fanaticism??) and the openness of progressive/Reform  Judaism.   As a Christian/Jewish/Islamic/New Age/Buddhist, this book made my heart ache along with Rusty’s  nee Christian’s.   Loved the interlinking of details throughout the book (Judy’s art, “et tu Christian”).  Loved the argument between Christian and Rabbi Doctor Yosef Schlumacher on the emotional seat in humans….is it the heart or the brain?  ‘Christmas for Joshua’ brings to mind the questions that I have asked for many years…..Is God so small that there aren’t many paths to him, all being valid paths?  With the belief in one God, don’t we all worship the same God?  Science says that the probability is that there are  millions of intelligent species out in the universe, will they worship the same as we do?... Read ‘Christmas for Joshua’  by Avraham Azrieli , you’ll love it
marianna1ML More than 1 year ago
This book was very dramatic while offering a refreshing perspective on tradition and marriage. Even though serious issues are discussed, the book definitely remains thought provoking and entertaining.
Nickster22 More than 1 year ago
I recently found Avraham Azrieli, and because I enjoy a good thriller the rest of his novels--"The Jerusalem Inception", "The Jerusalem Assassin", "The Masada Complex", etc.--were right up my alley, so I figured I'd go ahead and give this a shot as well, and while this novel was definitely a change of pace I found that I enjoyed it just as much (if not more) as his thrillers. Even though this novel was shorter than the others it actually ended up taking me longer to read, I found myself wanting to slow down and really digest the book instead of sitting at the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next, mostly because this was a more adult novel (and by adult I mean thoughtful). Azrieli's signature themes and styles are still very much in the book as well. The backdrop of religion as a source of conflict, excellent characterization, and thoroughly researched content, all still shine in this novel, and by switching out spies and espionage with families struggling with religious differences we get an experience that while different from his previous works, feels all the more real. After reading this novel Azrieli went from an author that I'd happily read for some quick entertainment, to one whose works I will actively seek out and try to learn from. You can see the growth and level of maturity increase the author has had, and while there might be a few hiccups in the pace (and ending) of the story, the content found is more than worth picking up.
DesLaDL More than 1 year ago
Quick and easy read. This book is a story surrounding the quick marriage of college students who are both Jewish but met at Orthodox services. The boy is from this conservative background, as the girl’s maternal parents were but her parents attend a Reform synagogue with a female Rabbi and up until meeting her new husband, the daughter was also progressive and forward thinking about women’s rights. On her clear path to become a great doctor she marries an Orthodox Jew and vows to follow his faith. This book is interestingly told in the POV of the girl’s father, a convert to Judaism. I hope the author considers writing this same story again through the POV of the daughter or the current voice’s son-in-law. I would love to be in the daughter’s head to know if she considered her choice’s true affect on her family—particularly her father. From early on this novel had me relating to the characters, although in reality there are not many similarities between any of the characters and me. But the author has a good way of tying you in so you empathize with the characters right away. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super good read…engaging, fun characters to get to know and learn about the twists and turns of life from their eyes. Very real and deals gracefully with some very difficult and sensitive topics. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautiful and heart-breaking novel about tolerance and acceptance in an inflexible world. The story of Christian "Rusty" Dinwall, a converted reform Jew whose daughter is marrying into a very strict Jewish family. He soon finds that the benevolent attitude that he was raised with is not echoed in all of the people around them. Azreli's book really illustrates how when faith is questioned the very foundation of life seems to shake. Completely thought provoking in the current world climate and a fantastic read.  The world of the novel is created seamlessly so the reader feels like they are truly within the world of the book, making it very easy to relate to the characters he has created and experience their world as if you were in it too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was well written. I enjoyed learning more about different Jewish denominations - there was a lot about Orthodox Judaism I was unaware of. I thought the ending a bit predictable given the foreshadowing, and ended a bit abruptly. I would've like to see, perhaps, a second "climax" to the story. It seemed like everything built up and after that, the book finished in less than 10 pages. Perhaps I'm also just craving to know more about what happens to the characters next - so it has left me wanting to know more. Overall, I really enjoyed it and have recommended it to my friends and family!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a touching story of family tensions and religious traditions and the difficulties embroiled when they collide. This is a nice change of pace from Azrieli who has written many novels more of the thriller/espionage genre, but it is told in the same delightfully descriptive and emotionally touching manner. It doesn't have to be holiday time for you to enjoy Christmas for Joshua!
RachelMcWhirter More than 1 year ago
I have spent the past month reading several of Avraham Azrieli’s books and have overall enjoyed my reading experience. "Christmas for Joshua" is a different departure from this author who usually writes espionage and thriller novels. Azrieli does a fantastic job contextualizing this in a contemporary setting, making the family's struggles, particularly the father's, seem tangible and realistic. This is a holiday story, and I was a little skeptical coming from his normal offerings, but I was proven wrong. This is quite an enjoyable novel! To my surprise there was much to like here. The story is focused around a father, Rusty, a man who converted to Judaism from Christianity early in life to marry his wife, and the impending marriage of his daughter, Debra. With the holiday season approaching, I would consider getting this book for yourself or a loved one as a holiday gift or just to enjoy curled up by the fire. Be sure to check out the author’s other books as well – highly entertaining!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells a wonderful story about a couple who has to come to terms with their daughter's decision to marry an Orthodox Jew. Not being very familiar with the Jewish religion, I was still able to get sucked in to this story. It was one of those books that I could not put down, and would definitely recommend to others!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Christmas For Joshua was a good read but it was anything but heartwarming. The story revolves around a man who is a converted Jew which he has lived for over 2 decades. His whole world changes when his daughter marries an Orthodox Jew and he is not allowed to attend the wedding because he is not considered a Jew in the Orthodox Synagogue. His pride is hurt. What follows is a traumatic and heart breaking quest to discover himself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had no idea of what to expect when I picked up this story.  It played like a Jewish version of Father The Bride mixed with after school special and a Woody Allen script. At its heart, it's a story about a father struggling with an interfaith marriage. It a story of a father balancing his own beliefs against a more tradition view. It's a story of a man "returning" to his religion as well as balancing this with his marriage. It's a story based in real life. It was a nice change from my normal read. I definitely recommend it.
alleshat More than 1 year ago
Christmas for Joshua is an intensely emotional tale, that delves into the conflicting discussion of religion and family and the different views as family members practice separate faiths. Christmas for Joshua really helped me understand all the challenges that can come out of an interfaith marriage and really shows the power of religion and love. the main character Dr. "Rusty" Dinwall takes on each challenge in a humorous, realistic way and is a wonderfully written.In christmas for joshua There are many references to the Jewish faith, but they are crafted in such a way that a person of any faith can find them easy to understand.