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Times Square Rabbi: Finding the Hope in Lost Kids' Lives Paperback – May 1, 1997
Top Customer Reviews
Portrait of Yehudah Fine: Times Square Rabbi By Naomi Geschwind
For over a decade until five years ago, Rabbi Yehudah Fine roamed the seamy fringe society of the docks, bus stations and porn shops of New York; nightly he patrolled the territory wearing a Yankee cap instead of a kippa, shmoozing and offering hot chocolate, peanut-butter sandwiches and hope to drugged-out kids, runaways, hookers and transvestites.
But Fine, author of Times Square Rabbi: Finding the Hope in Lost Kids Lives (Hazelden), never pushes religion when he talks to the young. "The Torah speaks for itself," he says. "You can't have an agenda; spiritual healing is not a business."
Fine has mainstreamed the thrust of his work. He is a member of the guidance staff at Yeshiva University. In lectures and in-depth seminars across the country, he helps parents, grandparents and teens deal with "the real dope": issues of drugs, depression, sexuality, spirituality. "Kids today do want help dealing with moral, spiritual and ethical dilemmas. I encourage them to turn to their families, and I also give them a profound look into Judaism's timeless message of compassion, activism and caring."
In sessions that have reached thousands, Fine encourages parents to roll up their sleeves and talk with their kids on all the issues, to take positive and proactive stands that reflect their own style. "I help parents rediscover what I call the astute grasp of the obvious, that they don't have to be perfect - and that they also need to have reasonable expectations. They have to have the courage in spite of all their insecurities to reach out and talk to their kids. Secrets are toxic," he warns. "It doesn't matter what the secret is, the kids know about it anyway."
His writing style is clear and poignant, combining good descriptive details with well-written dialogues. Each story illustrates one of the 8 steps in a recovery program that Yehudah has developed, based on the writings of Maimonides. Although the characters and stories are composites (to protect the kids' privacy), they are so well done that they virtually leap off the page.
Every parent should read this book. Yehudah pulls no punches about how these kids ended up on the streets. For many, it was an escape from unbearable home situations. In other cases, the parents kicked their kids out of the house with no idea what would happen to them out there. In still other cases, kids from "good homes" set out with high hopes and unrealistic fantasies, only to be victimized by the predators that roam "The Way Beyond." That's Yehudah's name for the street culture that exists in the same physical space as up-scale Manhattan, but in a different world entirely. Like real life, some of these stories have happy endings, others do not. But all of them will make you think. As the subtitle says, this is a book about finding hope.
-- Jewish Week
--Jewish Bulletin of Northern California
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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The message Yehudah Fine brings to parents and teens in his book is that even when a teenager's life is in crisis, caring can produce profound transformation. Read morePublished on October 6, 1999
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