Kindling the Flame: Reflections on Ritual, Faith, and Family

Israeloff, Roberta

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2015
ISBN 10: 1501127519 / ISBN 13: 9781501127519
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Synopsis: The author of Lost and Found shares her personal, lifelong spiritual journey of faith, which led away from organized Judaism and back again, and acknowledges the power of tradition while recognizing the need to reinterpret that which must be passed on. 17,500 first printing.

Review: A much praised chronicler of life's passages explores what are perhaps the most intimate experiences of all -- the transforming power of religion and the transference of faith from generation to generation in "Kindling the Flame." -- Jewish Herald - August 6, 1998

You don't have to be Jewish to recognize yourself in Roberta Israeloff's "Kindling the Flame." It rings true for any baby boomer "stumbling over the discovery that after our formal rejection of organized religion twenty-five years ago, we were in fact still Jews, or Catholics, or Baptists at heart...That the legacy we'd spent years avoiding or denying surfaced despite our efforts." Searching for a suburban synagogue where her son could study for bar mitzvah, Israeloff recounts how her friends, Jew and gentile alike, "all wished the same thing -- that our children could receive a religious education with no effort on our part." She joins a temple and keeps her smart, skeptical eye on the whole institutional package: bills, committees, meetings, disputes, obligations. Yet readers following her son's rite of passage to Jewish adulthood find the soul of the book is Israeloff's discovery of the Jewish spirit within herself: the joys of ritual, the beauty in prayer, the security of a lifelong community. She learns," There are many types of prayer, many ways of believing. Judaism, perhaps all religions, flourishes where tension is highest -- on the tenuous ground between the here and now and forever, the secular and the holy, the feminine and the masculine, the group and the individual, self and other, spontaneity and rote." Her awakening is not described in lyrical prose, a transcendent tale. She zigzags from girlhood memories to motherhood moments, observing the faith, doubts and fears of her grandparents, parents, and sons. To the end, even as she's begun to sip from an ancient spiritual wellspring, even as she's wound up on the synagogue board of trustees, she still has her doubts. Israeloff tells Carol, the synagogue past president, "I need the shul for a lot of reasons...It's a way for me to feel part of community, to do good work, to pass along tradition to my sons. Sometimes I think that for me, it's about everything but God." "'What if everything's God?'" Carol asks. "What if." -- USA Today - September 3, 1998

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Title: Kindling the Flame: Reflections on Ritual, ...
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2015
Book Condition: Good
Edition: Reprint.

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