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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, May 6, 2009
By 
Emily Zell (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
I received this book the day before I went on a trip and could not put it down until I finished it. The descriptions and reflections of the author are so real. I connected with a lot of the stories she told, and it made me think deeply about my own story. I highly recommend reading this story. I even read it twice- a very powerful memoir. I cannot wait for the next book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I leaned more about Judaism from this book than I did growing up Jewish, October 19, 2009
This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
This is thoughtful memoir of a woman searching to fulfill her spiritual needs. It truly captures the experience of attending Jewish religious services and celebrations of Jewish holidays with keen observation, humor, and the desire to learn. For anyone who is desiring a better understand of what is means to be Jewish this is a must-read. I learned more from this book than I did growing up and attending Hebrew and Sunday school. It is well-written, easy to read and follows the authors journey from dating a Jew to converting to the religion.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story with Judaism, September 25, 2009
This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
"The New Jew" has become very personal for me. It came along at just the right time to highlight what I have and what I've lost, what being Jewish means and what being part of a Jewish community means. It is a love story with Judaism and Jewish community, complete with awkward beginnings, passionate disagreements, and a honeymoon.

The book begins with the death of author Sally Srok Friedes' mother-in-law in present time. This was a poignant start, as I had just lost my mother when I began reading. The funeral and shiva (first week of mourning) descriptions truly depict Judaism and a Jewish community at its best. We are then taken back to the beginning of the author's journey to becoming Jewish, back when becoming Jewish wasn't a goal at all.

Time and again, the author tries to get more involved in learning about Judaism so that she doesn't feel so lost and ignorant when around her husband's family and folks at the synagogue, but each time, she is insulted, ostracized, and marginalized by rabbis who are opposed to interfaith marriage and see her marriage to husband Michael as a crime against Judaism. It is to her credit that she perseveres.

I found myself on an emotional roller coaster with her, embarrassed when a rabbi uses his Rosh Hashanah sermon to rant about interfaith marriages and presenting Judaism as an exclusive by-invitation-only club rather than welcoming those who might add to the Jewish community. I was saddened by Michael's distance from Judaism while he resists Sally's embrace of it, even as I knew his was a completely normal reaction. I cheered when Sally finally found a rabbi--and a synagogue--who could truly appreciate not only who she was, but who she could become.

Everyone's Jewish journey is different, and yet there are shared elements that remind us how we are all connected. In "The New Jew," we can all find ourselves within these pages.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging and well-written, August 17, 2009
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This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
Though I certainly hope my own journey doesn't take 10 years, I was happy to discover the open, honest, and sometimes humorously endearing way Ms. Friedes shared her story. Each character she introduced included both assets and flaws, which affected her on her way to becoming a Jew. At the same time, each character had a positive effect on the final result.

As a young woman just beginning the conversion process myself, I was empowered to see the many different thought processes that Ms. Friedes went through on her journey, as I have already experienced many of the same.

Thank you for sharing your story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Honest Account of the Conversion Journey, August 22, 2009
This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
While my own conversion process took a very different path from Sally Friedes', her honest and heartfelt description of the "push and pull" of Judiasm reminded me of my own emotions 20 years ago. I embraced Judiasm to fill a void left by a childhood lacking any religious or spiritual orientation. I never thought about how hard it would be to reject an all encompassing religion such as Catholicism until I read her book. Wow, now I have a better understanding and empathy for those who have had the
strength to do this. Kudos to Ms. Friedes for sharing her journey with us. Hopefully, it will give courage to those considering a similar path.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new understanding, August 20, 2009
By 
Terry Kraus (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
As a Jewish professional, I thought I knew so much about outreach to those new to Judaism, until I read Sally's book. Seeing "our" world through her eyes certainly opened mine. As I shared Sally's journey, page by page, I became aware of how meaningful, and at times painful, her steps to Judaism were. I highly recommend this book to Jews who who are in relationships with non-Jews or new Jews, as well as to all Jewish professionals who work with interfaith couples. I couldn't put it down!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down, August 25, 2009
By 
Anonymous (Bay Area, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
I stayed up to finish this book the day I started it - to 3 a.m., and on the night before Easter with my kids! I am not Jewish but have often felt spiritually attracted to Judaism and am interested in religion and spiritual life in general. I loved this book because the author's account was so real. Friedes is very talented at describing her experience of life, which is a lot of my reason for reading any book. I also appreciated spending time with the writings of such a lovely person: the author's good heart shines throughout the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone curious, open-minded and interested in a modern woman's experience of love, religion, family, parenting and all the other aspects of a life well-considered and well-lived.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "New Jew" Review!, August 20, 2009
By 
D. C. Tillman (new rochelle, N. Y.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
Sally Friedes's book was, plain and simple, terrific. It made me smile, laugh and cry. It was heartwarming and nostalgic and a powerful look through one woman's talented eyes of what made Judaism and its tenets click for her. It was personal, warm and thoughful and thought-provoking. I read it slowly, over a period of weeks because I did not want the writing to end. All in all, a wonderful read and a great primer, not just for those wanting to convert into Judaism, but a rich reminder for those of us already in regarding why membership is so meaningful and transformative!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest. Bold. Inspiring., August 22, 2009
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This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
While outside of my typical genre, I rushed to order "The New Jew" upon the recommendation of a friend--I was not disappointed. Funny at times; at others, heartbreakingly poignant--Ms. Srok-Friedes delves lovingly into the human heart as she explores her spirituality. "The New Jew" is a fascinating journey; after only the first three pages you will be eager to ride along. This is a story that should not be missed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful journey!, August 20, 2009
This review is from: The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (Paperback)
It was an privilege to read about Sally's journey in converting to Judism. Her story not only honors all of those who played a part in her conversion, but beautifully portrays her wonderful relationship with her mother in law. Written with wisdom, humor and love, Sally surpasses many of people who have spent their entire lives studying religion.
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The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion
The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion by Sally Srok Friedes (Paperback - April 16, 2009)
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