Jour­neys to a Jew­ish Life: Inspir­ing Sto­ries from the Spir­i­tu­al Jour­neys of Amer­i­can Jews

Paula Amann
  • Review
By – February 20, 2012

In Jour­neys to a Jew­ish Life, Paula Amann relates uplift­ing sto­ries of Jews, many of them in their 50s and 60s, who have recon­nect­ed with their roots and found new mean­ing as they make their way back to Jew­ish life. 

Some of Amann’s sub­jects had reli­gious upbring­ings; oth­ers were not raised reli­gious­ly but had a ten­u­ous con­nec­tion to Judaism— High Hol­i­day Jews.” Some found con­gre­ga­tion­al life to be devoid of mean­ing and sought answers in oth­er tra­di­tions, includ­ing East­ern reli­gions. Oth­ers were dis­sat­is­fied with hav­ing to pay syn­a­gogue dues. The return to Judaism, often com­ing in the form of being enlight­ened by books, men­tors, involve­ment with Hebrew, Torah, or Israel, was marked by a new spir­i­tu­al link that did not exist for these Amer­i­can Jews in the past. Many now keep kosher and observe the Sabbath. 

Amann’s book is refresh­ing, and through the per­son­al tales of so many indi­vid­u­als, answers ques­tions regard­ing trans­for­ma­tion, con­nec­tion, and a redis­cov­ery of a reli­gious tra­di­tion that now pro­vides true spir­i­tu­al mean­ing in their dai­ly lives. Read­ers will iden­ti­fy with these hon­est and detailed sto­ries of those who dis­cov­ered or redis­cov­ered faith and now live a rich, vibrant Jew­ish life.

Bar­bara S. Cohen is a tri­al attor­ney in Los Ange­les who spe­cial­izes in child abuse cas­es. She is a mem­ber of NAMI and a sup­port­er of NARSAD, and is an advo­cate for those who suf­fer from men­tal illness.

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