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Lord Will Gather Me In: My Journey to Jewish Orthodoxy Hardcover – December 3, 1998
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Ari L. Goldman Author of The Search For God at Harvard The spiritual traveler's road is never a straight one, but David Klinghoffer's journey has so many unexpected twists and turns -- through adoption and romance and more circumcisions than anyone should have to endure -- that he kept me fascinated and reading to the last splendid page. -- Review
About the Author
David Klinghoffer is a senior editor at National Review, where he writes about culture and edits the "Books, Arts, & Manners" section. His reviews and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Commentary. A thirty-three-year-old California native and graduate of Brown University, he lives in New York City.
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I know that the bulk of Conservative and Reform Jews probably do not agree with his spin on their religion, however, I have to agree with him. History will bear out the fact, that Judaism by association of blood alone, will not survive. In my neighborhood we have an exceptionally large amount of Baaley tshuva and converts. I find it extremely impressive and am in awe of a person that generally gives up all that he has been raised to beleive, in search of something almost illusive: the truth.
After my divorce, I became semi-orthodox. I was angry at G-d, whom I held responsible, and felt that if he deserted me, certainly I had no obligation to maintain contact with him. On the outside I continued all the ritual, but inside I knew it was just a show. After my remarriage and subsequent death of my second husband, I reevaluated my religion and my beliefs and came to much of the same conclusions as Klinghoffer. G-d walks with me and I know that he is watching me...and not from a distance.
It would be simple if our religion could be relegated to an occasional temple trip, and not eating pork, but in our hearts, we all know that this is not what binds us together and maintains us as Jews. It is not only in the blood. It is in the heart and in the concrete observance of the Torah as well. From Abraham, to Unkelus to Ruth, some of our greatest Jews have come to us through conversion. I admire the author and other converts that have sought out the truth and the beauty of Judaism. You are an inspiration to those of us that take it often for granted.
Contrary to what many other reviewers say, Klinghoffer's book is anything but condescending. He presents the truth from a Jewish perspective, even at the risk of embarassing himself with his own failings along the way. He presents the inevitable problems faced by so many baalei teshuvah when religious observance and current lifestyles start to clash. The confusing world where one might date a non-Jew but keep kosher and shabbos is where many baalei teshuvah can end up. Klinghoffer makes it clear that such illogical actions are a part of this process of discovering authentic Judaism and the confusion of leaving old habits behind. He goes through what seemed to be a logical progression to him, seeking truth through Reform and Conservative, even going to JTS, before coming back to Torah Judaism. In each step, he noticed something was lacking. For instance, he went to JTS to learn Hebrew to read the bible. They wouldn't teach biblical Hebrew to him, but suggested he go to the Christian Seminary down the street.
To those other reviewers who think that he is condescending to Conservative/Reform, I will remind them that he did not come into the process prejudiced against anything but Orthodoxy. It was after experiencing Conservative/Reform, and then fully experiencing Judaism that he could look back and realize the truth.
Klinghoffer's candidness and straightforward honesty make this book necessary information for anybody wondering more about the Judaism which they have been denied. His enjoyable and easily relatable writing style makes this book a pleasure to read--Five stars!