In the tradition of The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs and Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler comes Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year, a lively chronicle of the author’s journey into the spiritual heart of Judaism.
Although she grew up following some holiday rituals, Pogrebin realized how little she knew about their foundational purpose and contemporary relevance; she wanted to understand what had kept these holidays alive and vibrant, some for thousands of years. Her curiosity led her to embark on an entire year of intensive research, observation, and writing about the milestones on the religious calendar.
Whether in search of a roadmap for Jewish life or a challenging probe into the architecture of Jewish tradition, readers will be captivated, educated and inspired by Abigail Pogrebin’s My Jewish Year.
Can a 50-something neophyte glean meaning about herself and the world from observing all 18 annual Jewish holidays in a year of personal exploration? Pogrebin (Stars of David) provides a vigorous and moving affirmative answer in this insightful, clever, funny, and compulsively readable volume that will lead newcomers to seek out her other writings. Having grown up with her Jewish identity "a given, not a pursuit," Pogrebin believed that there was more to "feel than I'd felt, more to understand than I knew." She is guided by an eclectic group of teachers, including rabbis from all modern denominations, who provide different lenses through which to view ancient, and sometimes obscure, holidays as relevant today. Her exploration begins with Elul, the Hebrew month that precedes the Jewish New Year, that provides an opportunity to gear up for that holy day with daily self-examinations; typically, her account of trying to learn how to blow a shofar every morning, and integrate her experiment in observance with her family routine, is both humorous and inspiring. Even knowledgeable Jews will find wisdom and new perspectives in these pages.