My road from twice-a-year Jew to Torah-study groupie took 40 years. With the heady days of the High Holy Days, Sukkot and Simchat Torah still fresh in my mind, it’s worth examining how I got here. During my youth, my family and I attended synagogue only during the High Holy Days. Even then, like most adolescents, no matter the Jewish preschool, Jewish summer camp, bat mitzvah or confirmation, the rabbi’s sermon was my cue to flee the sanctuary with my sister to find the other kids in the parking lot tearing into a purloined challah snatched from the synagogue kitchen.
If each spoken word is a droplet of water, then each voice that utters is a wind that brings forth rain. Though, the wind has no shape. Though, water comes in all shapes and sizes. Though, no mortal power can divine the weather even a few days hence, and words turn patterns as surely as the wind turns seasons about the globe.
Rabbi Mark Borovitz's memoir of how prison Torah study turned an alcoholic grifter and check-kiter into a successful rehabilitator of Jewish cokeheads, gamblers and other addicts is a blustering and grandiose book, marred by clichés and solecisms. And yet, I liked "The Holy Thief: A Con Man's Journey From Darkness to Light," very much.
Heralded by the blowing of shofars, Kirk Douglas and his wife, Anne, stood under the chuppah Sunday afternoon and reaffirmed the marriage vows they first recited 50 years ago.
The Israel that Donna Rosenthal depicts in her new book, "The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land" (Free Press) can sound like one very crowded apartment building, filled with interesting, passionate people from many backgrounds, often shouting in the hallways, sitting on the stoop, offering advice out their windows, sharing tragedies. But the tenants don't know much about those neighbors who aren't like them.