Life Lessons for the Present Moment

It’s not a bad time to think about faith, some possible spiritual, ethical, personal touchstones, and a bit of wisdom for the present and the near future of our complicated lives. To help in this daunting task, a few book suggestions from Lilith’s editors:

Remix Judaism: Preserving Tradition in a Diverse World (2020) by Roberta Rosenthal Kwall

“Kwall insists on proactive development of Jewish rituals that can be observed consistently, even if those rituals differ from traditional observance. Kwall provides plenty of specifics.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life—in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There) (2019) by Sarah Hurwitz

“Her book will resonate with other secular Jews looking to regain a sense of their Jewish heritage. A solid guide to Judaism for reluctant believers.” (Kirkus Reviews)

My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew (2017) by Abigail Pogrebin

Based on her column in The Forward examining all the landmarks of the Jewish calendar. “The Jewish schedule heightened the stakes,” Pogrebin explains, “reminding me repeatedly how precarious life is, how impatient our tradition is with complacency, how obligated we are to rescue those with less, how lucky we are to have so much history, so much family, so much food.” (Goodreads)

This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation (2003) by Alan Lew

A classic. Rabbi Lew writes: “There are times in life when we are caught utterly unprepared: a death in the family, the end of a relationship, a health crisis. These are the times when the solid ground we thought we stood on disappears beneath our feet, leaving us reeling and heartbroken, as we stumble back to our faith.”

The Year Mom Got Religion: One Woman’s Midlife Journey into Judaism (1999) by Lee Meyerhoff Hendler

“How awakening to religion can transform—and disrupt—a life. A poignant personal testimony of the discoveries, achievements, and disappointments of a woman’s renewed commitment to her faith— and how her personal transformation deeply affected her lifestyle and relationships.” (Jewish Lights)