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The Measure of His Grief Paperback – September 6, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lisa Braver Moss is the author of Celebrating Family: Our Lifelong Bonds with Parents and Siblings and co-author of The Mother's Companion: A Comforting Guide to the Early Years of Motherhood. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Tikkun, Parents, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Her collection of short essays, "I'm Not Impressed," can be found on the blog lisabravermoss.wordpress.com. A native of Berkeley, California, Lisa still lives in the area. The Measure of His Grief is her first novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453720251
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453720257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,499,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. L. Levine on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
In "The Measure of His Grief," by Lisa Braver Moss, the reader is plunged into Dr. Sandor Waldman's middle age crisis on the very last day of his father's shiva, when a searing, recurring physical pain hits him, as if he were reliving his circumcision.

Unlike central characters in a Phillip Roth, Woody Allen, or Shalom Auslander work, the pain draws Sandy Waldman nearer to Judaism and its traditions rather than alienating him. His marriage and professional relationships strain over his new, bizarre obsession with his circumcised penis and with his determination to unravel the medical and religious justifications for the practice. Along the way we learn of Sandy's childhood with his Holocaust survivor parents, his courtship and marriage, his adopted daughter, and family secrets. The setting of Berkeley, California and the characters' experiences with drugs, illicit romances, parental loss, the medical profession, Jewish clergy, and the fringe group of "intactavists" enliven the story. Interwoven through Sandy's narrative are the parallel narratives of his wife and daughter, as they stumble through their own changes separate from his.

It's as if the humor and anger of Roth, Allen & Auslander (with a touch of Jonathan Franzen) has been sifted and mixed into the humane insights usually associated with Joseph Telushkin's scholarship about Judaism, then poured into this neurotic Jewish anti-hero who, for once, does not hail from New York.

Jewish book groups will find much to discuss about Sandy Waldman, his circle of loved-ones, his marriage, his parenting, and his attempts to question why the elective surgery of circumcision is still routinely performed both inside and outside the Jewish context.
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I started The Measure of His Grief on a saturday evening, slept the night, and then started reading again in the morning. Yes, it was that good and that absorbing! Lisa Braver Moss beautifully integrates a massive amount of information on circumcision into a family's life, yet the characters take center stage. I don't know if you all know who Richard Clarke is. He was a terrorism specialist in the Bush administration and then moved onto the field of cyber terrorism. He wanted to inform the public, and so after his first book, he wrote some novels filled with important information but delivered in novel form. This writer is to circumcision what Richard Clarke is to cyber terror.

Circumcision is a delicate topic with alot of dimension and the writer artfully crafts ways of delivering the range of feelings elicited and held. Initially I wondered how I might respond to reading about judaism and circumcision as the religious parts have never been prominent in any form in my life. I had no problem at all and was very interested in much of it. What was disturbing that I hadn't known is that the kind of cutting that to this day continues isn't even the original intent! I wonder how many folks who go along with this are aware of that fact!

The infancy pieces were done so touchingly in this novel ......especially in its relevance to father and daughter, though also in
recognition of when infants begin to feel pain.

Enjoy this important and engaging book.
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Format: Paperback
The author deserves congratulations simply for undertaking the daunting task of tackling this heavy issue, all the more so for the funny, thoughtful, provocative manner in which she does so. The Measure of His Grief, in its humorous, accepting examination of the life of a lovable yet demanding and neurotic Jewish man, inevitably calls to mind the books of Philip Roth and (to a lesser extent) the humor of Woody Allen but Moss stakes out a territory all her own.

Her main character, Dr. Sandor ("Sandy") Waldman, an endocrinologist whose parents were Holocaust survivors, is quite self-absorbed and becomes more so as he embarks on an increasingly obsessive investigation of a seemingly inexplicable sharp groin pain he experiences on the last day of sitting shiva for his father. As he delves deeper and deeper into investigations that eventually focus on circumcision, he ultimately concludes that this procedure may lie behind not only his previously unexplained pain--which may have been a form of reliving his circumcision--but also other symptoms he has been experiencing.

Sandy then embarks into a foreskin restoration process, with the whole path he has chosen inevitably exposing him to what for him at least had previously been an invisible underground of pro-intact doctors, but also anti-Semitic colleagues and--at least for Sandy--flagrantly gay restorers. Currently the Assistant Chief of Medicine, Sandy had hoped to eventually become the Chief and so when the long-anticipated retirement occurs, he finds himself in competition for the job with a younger, more savvy, and less principled competitor. However, his chances for the promotion decline as his single-minded preoccupation grows.

The tone of the book is very realistic.
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Format: Paperback
It seems to me "tikkun olam" [healing or restoring the world] would be accomplished more easily if "tikkun lingam" were no longer necessary after this violence against children's genitals.
I "sat" on this book a long time. I'm all too familiar with the topic and did not want to re-visit this wound, but eventually read it-- and recommend it to others.

There are plenty of interesting discussions and questions in this book-- scrutinizing circumcision from religious and "medical" angles, dealing with the feelings associated w/ the discovery of harm and reactions to the protagonist's interest in foreskin restoration-- all within the safety of fiction.

Having said that, I must state that although it is fiction, the book was VERY well-researched. The kinds of email exchanges in the book were exactly the sort of bulletin board discussions taking place in the 90s, and which are still taking place today on Facebook and blogs. Meetings on foreskin restoration take place all across the country, though now the discussion is more prevalent in online forums. While not all men who confront this issue will react in the same way as does "Sandy", I can positively affirm that unwanted, unbidden and deeply-buried feelings do surface when the reality of this wholly unnecessary reductive amputation is faced.
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