Lovesong: Becom­ing a Jew

  • From the Publisher
September 5, 2013

Julius Lester was born the son of a black Methodist min­is­ter in the south. His book Lovesong is a beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten account of his spir­i­tu­al jour­ney away from the con­ven­tions of his South­ern her­itage and Methodist upbring­ing, cul­mi­nat­ing in his per­son­al self-dis­cov­ery through a con­ver­sion to Judaism.

Grow­ing up in the tur­bu­lent civ­il rights era South, Lester was often dis­cour­aged by the dis­con­nect­ed­ness between the promis­es of reli­gion and the real­i­ties of his life. He used the out­lets avail­able to him to try to come to grips with this split and some­how rec­on­cile the injus­tices he was wit­ness­ing with the puri­ty of reli­gion. He became a con­tro­ver­sial writer and com­men­ta­tor, sid­ing with nei­ther blacks nor whites in his uncon­ven­tion­al view­points. He became a lumi­nal fig­ure of the times, out­side of the con­ven­tion­al labels of race, reli­gion, pol­i­tics, or philosophy.

Lester’s spir­i­tu­al quest would take him through the exis­ten­tial land­scape of his South­ern, Chris­t­ian upbring­ing, into his ances­try, wind­ing through some of the holi­est places on the plan­et and into the spir­i­tu­al depths of the world’s major reli­gious cul­tures. His odyssey of faith would unex­pect­ed­ly lead him to dis­cov­er­ing Judaism as his true spir­i­tu­al calling.

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