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Am I a Jew?: My Journey Among the Believers and Pretenders, the Lapsed and the Lost, in Search of Faith (Not Necessarily My Own), Mby Theodore Ross
Synopses & Reviews
What makes someone Jewish?
Theodore Ross was nine years old when he moved with his mother from New York City to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Once there, his mother decided, for both personal and spiritual reasons, to have her family pretend not to be Jewish. He went to an Episcopal school, where he studied the New Testament, sang in the choir, and even took Communion. Later, as an adult, he wondered: Am I still Jewish?
Seeking an answer, Ross traveled around the country and to Israel, visiting a wide variety of Jewish communities. From “Crypto-Jews” in New Mexico and secluded ultra-devout Orthodox towns in upstate New York to a rare Classical Reform congregation in Kansas City, Ross tries to understand himself by experiencing the diversity of Judaism.
Quirky and self-aware, introspective and impassioned, Am I a Jew? is a story about the universal struggle to define a relationship (or lack thereof) with religion.
A New York Times Notable Book, and a chaotic, laugh riot” (San Francisco Chronicle) of a memoir.
Shalom Auslander was raised with a terrified respect for God. Even as he grew up and was estranged from his community, his religion and its traditions, he could not find the path to a life where he didnt struggle daily with the fear of Gods formidable wrath. Foreskins Lament reveals Auslanders painfully, cripplingly, incurably, miserably religious” youth in a strict, socially isolated Orthodox Jewish community, and recounts his rebellion and efforts to make a new life apart from it. His combination of unrelenting humor and anger renders a rich and fascinating portrait of a man grappling with his faith and family.
I was nine years old when my mother forced me to convert to Christianity .”
When Theodore Ross moved from New York City to small-town Mississippi, his mother insisted that the family pretend to not be Jewish. He was sent to an Episcopal school, where he studied the Bible, sang in the choir, and even took communion. As an adult, he abandoned the religious charade, but wondered: Am I a Jew? In search of an answer, Ross immersed himself within communities on the fringes of Jewish identity—Crypto-Jews,” Lost Tribes,” the ultra-Orthodox, and more. Filled with humor, curiosity, and sincerity, Am I a Jew? explores Americas riotous religious diversity, and one mans quest to stake a claim within it.
About the Author
THEODORE ROSS is the articles editor of Men's Journal. Cofounder of the parenting blog DadWagon, Ross's essays, features, and fiction have appeared in the New York Times, Atlantic, Saveur, Tin House, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his family.
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