Rachel Berghash's lyrical, impressionistic memoir charts her relationship with her homeland during a lifelong journey of self-discovery, beginning with a child's-eye view of the city's sacred mysteries, her family's religious orthodoxy, and the underlying kinship between Israelis and Palestinians. At eighteen, she serves in the Israeli army, later attends the Rubin Academy of Music, and works as a secretary at the Israeli Parliament and "The Jerusalem Post." When she marries an American artist, she moves to New York City and raises a family. Living outside the homeland she loves and having abandoned her adherence to religious strictures, she shuttles between her original and adopted countries. Touching on issues of emigration, exile, family, and reawakening to religion, "Half the House" shows how Berghash builds a new house of the spirit, drawing on the foundation of her past while embracing her life's new possibilities. RACHEL BERGHASH is a prolific poet and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry and translations appear in numerous literary magazines. She holds a master's degree in social work from Yeshiva University and is a longtime teacher of Interior Life seminars that use key philosophical, psychological, and religious texts. Her essays in this area, with co-author Katherine Jillson, have been published in "Tikkun," the "Journal of Religion and Health," and elsewhere. In the 1980s, Berghash produced a series for radio that featured interviews with prominent poets. Transcripts of these have appeared in the "Partisan Review" and the "American Poetry Review," and in essay collections from the University of Michigan Press.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was such good company, I didn't want it to end. It was at once philosophically, poetically, spiritually, politically and psychologically enlightening. It was honest and it was brave. It zoomed out to grapple with the larger Israeli/Palestinian struggle and zoomed in to explore one small Jerusalem street and the joys, sorrows and challenges of the author's family. The author brings many resources to bear as she tries to resolve the conflicts in both. It's a rich multi-faceted treat that I would highly recommend.