Yearn­ings: Embrac­ing the Sacred Messi­ness of Life

Irwin Kula; Lin­da Loewenthal
  • Review
By – May 25, 2012
What do you yearn for? Love? Hap­pi­ness? Tran­scen­dence? Mean­ing? The strug­gle to achieve such things is a unique­ly human, inher­ent­ly com­plex, often elu­sive process. Instead of get­ting frus­trat­ed by the road­blocks, set­backs, and our own imper­fec­tions that seem to con­spire against us, why not accept neg­a­tive events and emo­tions as bless­ings in dis­guise? In his mov­ing, deeply per­son­al first book, Rab­bi Kula blends ancient wis­dom from Judaism, Catholi­cism, and Bud­dhism with Bible sto­ries, con­tem­po­rary insights, and anec­dotes to plumb the depths of sev­en of our most impor­tant desires. He reminds us, for exam­ple, that we can’t appre­ci­ate or even rec­og­nize joy if we knew no sor­row. A sense of secu­ri­ty is unap­pre­ci­at­ed unless you have felt inse­cure. Expe­ri­ences are so rarely black and white, so Kula shows us how to cel­e­brate the ambi­gu­i­ties.” While his book con­tains few, if any, rev­e­la­tions, the nar­ra­tive is beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten and syn­the­sizes enough mes­sages to help almost any­one through a dif­fi­cult time. Exam­ples culled from his own life, rela­tion­ships, and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties are espe­cial­ly pow­er­ful. With Yearn­ings, Kula, an eighth-gen­er­a­tion rab­bi and the pres­i­dent of the Nation­al Jew­ish Cen­ter for Learn­ing and Lead­er­ship, has pro­duced a salve for the agi­tat­ed soul. Bibliography.
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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