A Daugh­ter’s Kad­dish: My Year of Grief, Devo­tion, and Healing

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

A Daugh­ter’s Kad­dish recounts Sarah Birn­bach’s year-long odyssey to hon­or her beloved father by recit­ing the Mourn­er’s Kad­dish twice dai­ly in syn­a­gogue for eleven months, despite her father’s ini­tial request that she hire a male to do so.

Need­ing to trav­el for work, Sarah had to find morn­ing and evening minyans in each city she vis­it­ed, a chal­lenge that brought pleas­ant sur­pris­es — and upsets. A novice wor­ship­per and sin­gle work­ing moth­er, Sarah’s obsta­cles were many, includ­ing gen­der-based resis­tance to her prayer prac­tice, her daugh­ter’s near-fatal car acci­dent, an inci­dent that tore her syn­a­gogue apart, and her moth­er’s dismissiveness.

Deter­mined to ful­fill her com­mit­ment to her father, Sarah found that the rewards of recit­ing the Mourn­er’s Kad­dish are as much for the mourn­er, as for the soul of the deceased, and that the sup­port of the minya­neers can lead to true healing.This mem­oir demon­strates the pow­er of Judais­m’s tra­di­tion­al mourn­ing rit­u­als to bring us clos­er to our faith and pro­vide mean­ing and com­fort to those who grieve.

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