"Then what good is God?" a rape victim asked Rabbi Naomi Levy after Levy said she didn't think preventing tragedies was in God's hands. Levy realizes that the question after a personal tragedy should not be, "Why did this happen?" but rather, "How can I go on?" To Begin Again
is a book of comfort and faith to lead us through tragic times. Her advice is wise, gentle, and compassionate, dotted with stories of people Levy knows who have endured terrible pain--and healed. She teaches us to get comfort from asking others for help, letting ourselves cry, seeking a community of faith, studying something new, and keeping memories alive. She shows us how to rebuild our lives by facing the truth, loving and forgiving ourselves, repairing relationships with loved ones, teaching our hearts to remain open, holding onto our faith, and, finally, transforming ourselves.
Levy understands emotional agony firsthand: she lost her beloved father to a robber's gun when she was 15. Levy's message in this beautiful, moving book is, "Each of us possesses the power to overcome the unthinkable and be reborn, to live life not as survivors but as partakers, rejoicers, participants." --Joan Price
From Publishers Weekly
Levy's debut offers a progressive Jewish approach to coping with life's darker moments. Having faced the murder of her father when she was 15, Levy joined the first class of women to study at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Drawing on her own suffering and her experience as a rabbi, she constructs a map for personal renewal in the tradition of Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Initially, Levy deals with misfortune and addresses what can be done in the aftermath of a loss. Learning to face sadness and to share one's pain are essential elements in the author's understanding of recovery. Further on, through stories about her family and members of her congregation, Levy details how adversity can be a positive force, leading people to open their hearts to God. She doesn't promise simple solutions, however. Her last chapters illustrate how pain can be a permanent part of life, and how coping is an ongoing process. Though Levy offers much constructive wisdom, some of the stories she presents seem stretched to fit her message. Characters cry at just the right cue and various prescriptions seem to work in just the right way in nearly every episode she describes. But even if pat at times, Levy's treatise offers helpful ideas in a neatly organized fashion, as her deep experience and knack for colorful storytelling bring life to a somber subject. 75,000 first printing.
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