Customer Reviews: My Grandfather's Blessing: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging
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on June 12, 2000
Change of life does not always mean hormonal changes. After life threatening illnesses which are now considered chronic, I broused Amazon and have purchased many books which spoke of the nature of illness and the changes which occur during their life in your body. The books spoke little of the soul. They spoke little of being dependent on others, feeling awful most of the time, asking questions of the gods which went unanswered and so on and so on. Very boring stuff. Then this book. Rachel Naomi Remen: you have answered my questions. You have polished my soul. You have taught me the lessons which meditation could not, soothed me when food could not, enlivened me when wine could not. Sitting in my doctor's waiting room, crying just reading your introduction to your Grandfather, I was called into the examining room and while having a PAP smear, read a portion of your book to my internist. I am blessed with a doctor who not only is a fine diagnostician, but a man of great humor. He said this was a first for him. Me, too. There is no time in life when reading a chapter of that book is not in perfect accordance with the rules of medicine, both physical and emotional. Thank you does not say it. I thought I was beyond words. Obviously, not. I recommend this book to everyone, sick or well....but especially to those for whom illness is a constant companion. There are many road to healing. I read somewhere: "My illness is a friend who brings me great truths." It brought me your book as well. I bless you.
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VINE VOICEon May 18, 2003
Of the hundreds of books I have read, I consider this one of the very best. By way of background, I am a Board-certified clinical dentist with 17 years experience and three years of post-doctoral training. This collection of essays explores the value of our contributions to life, and the value of life's contributions to us. Although Dr Remen is an experienced oncologist, she has found most of her lessons by observing "the mysterious simple things," including her beloved grandfather's gentle and loving suggestions.
These stories almost seem mystical in their value and goodness. They are wise and profound, despite (rather than because of) her clinical skills (medicine and medical business have usually emphasized competence and quickness rather than anything akin to compassion).
I read one chapter of her book each day, along with my religious readings, and rarely finish the chapter without a tear in my eye and a glimmer of insight. She is a superb teaacher and I'd recommend her book to anyone who wonders how they are ever going to show caring or kindness in the kind of world they live in.
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on April 14, 2000
As a Registered Nurse of many years, I found the book helpful in rekindling myself as a compassionate caregiver. Reading Rachel's book is like living the stories right along with her. Having had the pleasure of listening to her speak, and then reading her books has helped me to look at life differently. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I wholeheartedly recommed this book, as well as "Kitchen Table Wisdom: Storied That Heal" to anyone who needs to learn to live well, or to anyone who needs healing. (We all need a little healing once in a while!) Thank you Rachael, your books have opened my eyes as a caregiver.
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on April 20, 2001
Rachel and her grandfather walk through life on a different path. Rachel is the academic achiever, who devotes her life to helping others in her profession as a medical doctor. Her grandfather, a rabbi and man of great wisdom, sees the world through a more devine and holy light. While their paths may be different, their ultimate purpose in life is the same. I never had the opportunity to bond with any of my grandparents, the geographical miles between us were far too great; however, it would be one of life's greatest blessings to have had a grandfather as wise, gentle and understanding as Rachel's.
The stories contained here will bring a smile and evoke a tear, as science, medicine, religion and spirituality exquisitely merge together throughout the pages of the book. Rachel embraces the world and the reader with her compassion and love for humanity. As you read through the pages, you will be left with a better understanding of life's true meaning and purpose; it is a well-written and thought-provoking book.
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VINE VOICEon July 13, 2000
In "My Grandfather's Blessings," Dr. Rachel Remen uses stories of her rabbi grandfather, her patients and herself to illustrate ways in which illness and death can bring hope, insight, and transformation into peoples' lives. She gives especial attention to the conflicts between the way in which science and medicine has been traditionally practiced and religion and spirituality.
This book is a wonderful, luminous primer for restoring a sense of soul to science. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on May 7, 2000
Here is one for the heart. No platitudes, no easy fixes for life, no Guru-ship; just the simple act of telling these life-affirming stories, by a woman of autnentic wisdom. I read this one from cover to cover in one sitting and felt I had taken some mind-altering drug. I had. It was in the pages of this eloquent and moving examination of how we are blessed and how we bless each other. Here is the fractal patterning of this experience we call living and Dr. Remem has revealed it, for all of us to see. We should all bless her for this medicine.
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VINE VOICEon August 25, 2000
A grandfather's blessings have evoked in Rachel Naomi Remen a wisdom in the service of life. This book is filled with stories, anecdotes and reflections which will help readers to recognize and bless the wisdom in themselves and in others. At a time when Orthodox Judaism is in the news, this book will go a long way to dispel cliches and to advance a positive appreciation of the spiritual wisdom at the heart of all authentic religious traditions and personal experience.
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VINE VOICEon June 21, 2000
Dealing long distance with the terminal illness of a loved one, I have begun to feel depleted and impotent. I picked up this book at the recommendation of a friend. At first, I was not sure it would do me any good. As I kept reading it found I was soothed and encouraged by the stories within. I even felt myself being gently chided, for I had been looking at the illness through the protective (and emotionally safer) eyes of the health care professional I am. It allowed me to open an area that I had kept shut, the feelings I had about the illness and the potential loss. I found the book to be a comfort and a blessing. I have kept it at my bedside and have turned to portions which I need for that day. It is divided into several areas speaking of both receiving and giving and how they are intertwined. I cannot put into words the comfort and encouragement these pages gave me.
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on February 2, 2001
Although I have lived for over half a century, I thoroughly enjoy the wit, the wisdom, and the sage advice of "elder" people. I could relate to so many things in "My Grandfather's Blessings" for I, too, had an adored grandfather who taught me by example the virtues of compassion, tenderness,love, who taught me it is OK to cry, to hurt, to feel, to be afraid, and who offered loving advice through very difficult times after the death of my mother when I was quite young. I learned so much from him--things that carried me through trying times as I became a caretaker for my father. I wish there had been a book like this during that challenging time!
My Grandfather's Blessings is a touching, poignant book that'll reach into the depths of the soul and help us connect (and cope) with our fragility, our "humanness."
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on April 19, 2001
I became aware of this book last fall and it caught my interest. I read it and evey page was filled with insights and before I knew it, I had post-it notes throughout the entire book. Rachel speaks many truths. As a Doctor, as a Counselor, as a person who struggles with her own health, I felt that she was a long lost friend. Her words are touching and made me think about my own life, my own struggles and my own blessings. Our background is similar. Rachel had a grandfather, I had a grandmother. A grandmother who believed in a force greater than herself. I was blessed by her presence, her love and her ability to enjoy her life through her children and grandchildren. My love for my faith is a testament of this woman. Her struggles, her disappointments did not deter her from her Orthodox Judaism. In fact, her belief was strengthen by life's challenges. As I read of Rachel's grandfather, I thought of my "Bubbi" (Yiddish for Grandmother)and her ongoing committment to Judaism. Those of you who want to read a book about love, about life, about making a difference in the world, I recommend this book highly. Thanks.
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