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You Probably Wouldn't Think To Read This For Book Club, But...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014| Permalink
This week, Barbara Askenas and Michal Smart, co-editors of the National Jewish Book Award-winning book Kaddish: Women's Voices blogs for The Postscript on why their book, not an obvious selection for a book club, could actually be an excellent choice. 

The Postscript series is a special peek "behind the scenes" of a book. It's a juicy little extra something to add to a book club's discussion and a reader's understanding of how the book came together. 

Since the publication of our book, Kaddish: Women's Voices, in Nov 2013, the response from our readers has been remarkable!

Our book Kaddish: Women's Voices explores what the recitation of Kaddish meant to different women from across the globe. Did they find the community and the consolation they were seeking? How did saying Kaddish affect their relationships with God, with prayer, with the deceased, and with the living? With courage and generosity, authors of diverse backgrounds and ages reflect upon their mourning experience

Our talented group of contributors share their relationships about the family members they lost and what it meant to move on, how they struggled to balance the competing demands of child-rearing, work, and grief, what they learned about tradition and themselves, and the disappointments and particular challenges they confronted as women.

Through fifty-two honest and personal essays, the book invites the reader into the intimate experience of a woman in mourning, and reveals the multiplicity of  a women’s experiences, seen through the prism of Kaddish. The collection shares viewpoints from diverse denominations and perspectives, and explores what it means to heal from loss and to honor memory in family relationships both loving and fraught with pain.

Kaddish: Women’s Voices is a book whose 52 essays create a conversation where loss is the currency of intimacy. It creates a community where women’s voices can be heard through the heartstrings of Kaddish.

Whether you are a daughter, sister, wife, mother or Bubbe, this collection offers solace, love, tenderness and nourishment for the soul when it is needed most. It is a companion that can be both supportive and healing.

While the essays in our book contain real moments of acute grief there is warmth humor and hope running through its pages. Any book club can embrace the opportunity to use our book as a vehicle to discuss their own journeys and create real conversations about personal loss and grief and how it transformed their lives for growth and renewal.

Questions for a Book Club to ponder:

  • Have you ever said Kaddish?
  • If so for whom? Parent, child, sibling , friend , spouse ?
  • Why did you accept the responsibility to say it?
  • How did it transform you?
  • How did you feel when it was time for the last Kaddish?
  • Which essay(s) resonated with you?
  • Did the essays by the Rabbis inform your understanding of the development of Kaddish through the ages
  • Did they inform you about Jewish Law? If so how?

Related Content: The Illuminated Kaddish: The Interpretations of the Mourner's Prayer by Hyla Shifra Bolsta, Joanna Hershon and the Memorial and other posts on death, mourning, and loss.


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