Con­quer­ing Fear: Liv­ing Bold­ly in an Uncer­tain World

  • Review
By – September 9, 2011

This book, by design, refers to a litany of fear-pro­vok­ing events, from traf­fic fatal­i­ties to 9/11 to a genet­ic time bomb hid­den in our DNA,” to the end of humankind, and of course, grow­ing old and our own death. Yes, there is plen­ty to fear in life, and in this thin vol­ume, Kush­n­er offers inspi­ra­tion and prac­ti­cal advice gleaned from a vari­ety of reli­gious and sec­u­lar sources.

Each chap­ter tack­les one or more sources of fear. In the chap­ter on Job Loss and Loss of Love,” Kush­n­er points out that hav­ing a job and hav­ing a rela­tion­ship both make you feel val­ued. When either is lost, feel­ings of rejec­tion fol­low. Though it’s nat­ur­al to fear los­ing these things, it’s crit­i­cal not to let fear inter­fere with your abil­i­ty to cher­ish what you have. If your sig­nif­i­cant oth­er leaves you, don’t let fear of rejec­tion pre­vent you from look­ing for a new love. If you lose your job but have loved ones to sup­port you emo­tion­al­ly, if not finan­cial­ly, rev­el in that. But, if you lose both — not an unheard of phe­nom­e­non giv­en our bat­tered econ­o­my and high divorce rate — con­quer­ing fear is some­what harder. 

Around the same length as Rab­bi Kushner’s most famous book, Why Bad Things Hap­pen to Good Peo­ple, Con­quer­ing Fear piv­ots around the same the­o­log­i­cal pil­lar — God doesn’t cause the things that we fear but can be a source of hope. It’s a quick and inspi­ra­tional read that cer­tain­ly puts fear into the right per­spec­tive. But it doesn’t seem des­tined to have the same impact as Why Bad Things Happen.

Robin K. Levin­son is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and author of a dozen books, includ­ing the Gali Girls series of Jew­ish his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for chil­dren. She cur­rent­ly works as an assess­ment spe­cial­ist for a glob­al edu­ca­tion­al test­ing orga­ni­za­tion. She lives in Hamil­ton, NJ.

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