web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Books »

Review: Living A Year Of Kaddish, A Memoir

Title: Living A Year Of Kaddish, A Memoir
Author: Ari. L. Goldman
Publisher: Schocken Books,
New York, N.Y.


Do we say the Kaddish to honor our lost ones, to satisfy our own innate yearnings, or to teach the next generation?

Ari Goldman, author of The Search for G-d at Harvard (and formerly religion columnist at The New York Times), invited us along on his search for himself during the year that he fulfilled his obligation of publicly mourning for his father.

Like most of us who forget to search our souls for the true meanings of our relationships with our parents until it is too late, Goldman bares his soul and helps us realize what a powerful tool of continuity is our custom of saying the Kaddish with a minyan.

Mourning our beloved is an intensely private experience for each person, but Jewish law prescribes public mourning for each man by saying Kaddish (with no obligation, but no restriction either, for each woman).

Goldman found this an opportunity to reconnect with community, and himself became quite a builder of community, including active participation and office-holding in a prominent West-Side New York synagogue, Cong. Ramath Orah. There he found a shul that, at first, barely scraped together weekday minyanim, but eventually became a home for quite a large congregation who enjoyed the sense of community with each other.

The memoir also unearths an ugly side of inhospitality and prejudice, of “Jew vs. Jew” attitudes of some of the people that Goldman met along his journey of self-discovery, but he also discovers beauty and shared companionship from many who go to great lengths to be there to answer “Amen” to Ari’s Kaddish.

Many of our great minds have left us inspired with their efforts to assemble a matzevah to their loved ones. Mozart wrote his marvelous “Requiem,” Handel his “Messiah,” Leonard Bernstein his “Kaddish” and “Cichester Psalms,” each in their attempt to show us, by example, the depths of their emotions.

I, for one, can’t remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, but thank goodness Ari Goldman keeps good notes to offer us insight into his experiences. Reciting the Kaddish together with a minyan is a uniquely Jewish experience that assists the community’s efforts to help the individual grieve and cope with their loss. It forces retrospection and causes us to pray that we merit becoming a living memorial to our forbears.

Each of us, in our time, will unfortunately live a year of our own Kaddish. Ari’s memoir of his year, following the demise of his beloved father, is an excellent example to be shared with friends and family - even friends who may not be Jewish.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Review: Living A Year Of Kaddish, A Memoir”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Rafael's Spike anti-tank missile launcher.
Israel Beats Out US for $525 Million Arms Sale to India
Latest Sections Stories
Nimchinsky-102414-Flag

This past summer was a powerful one for the Jewish people. I will always remember where I was on June 12th when I found out that Gilad, Eyal and Naftali were kidnapped. I will always remember the look on my sister’s face on June 30th when she told me that they were found. I will […]

Schonfeld-logo1

Avromi often put other people’s interests before his own: he would not defend people whom he believed were guilty (even if they were willing to pay him a lot of money).

Kupfer-102414

The Presbyterian Church USA voted to divest from three companies that do business with Israel.

How can I help my wife learn to say “no,” and understand that her first priority must be her husband and family?

My eyes skimmed an article on page 1A. I was flabbergasted. I read the title again. Could it be? It had good news for the Miami Jewish community.

Students in early childhood, elementary, and middle school were treated to an array of hands-on projects to create sukkah decorations such as wind chimes, velvet posters, sand art, paper chains, and more.

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

More Articles from Aharon Ben Anshel
book-alex's-wake

Goldsmith himself went on his own “voyage of discovery” to the places where his grandfather and uncle landed and were sent.

book-The-Last-Commission

Green was an American volunteer in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, but something happened In Israel that has haunted him ever since.

Witnessed by Theodore Herzl, who was a journalist for a Viennese newspaper covering the trial, the cause célèbre became the spark that eventually caused the rise of the State of Israel in modern times.

These eleven nursing home residents and their accompanying staff from the Connecticut nursing home could represent any of us or our own loved ones…

There are three kinds of travelers: there are tourists, there are businesspeople, and then there are historians like Ben G. Frank.

The last kind doesn’t simply go from here to there. They try to relive history and find the real meaning behind what they experience.

Behind “the news” there’s almost always a story that isn’t being reported, and certain kinds of phenomenon occur almost simultaneously all over the world in almost every era.

Whether this is a memoir or autobiography or whether this book was written as an article of regional diplomacy, King Abdullah does come across in this book as a quite sincere person making a valiant effort at regional diplomacy, who is trying to quell terrorism in the Mideast and raise the social and economic levels of his countrymen.

As any psychologist can tell you – no two people who see an event come away with the very same experience. Criminologists and detectives who question people who may have witnessed a crime experience the fact that several different people will report various versions of the event.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/review-living-a-year-of-kaddish-a-memoir/2003/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: