It’s not often New Yorkers open their homes to strangers, but many will be doing just that on Sunday, April 25 as part of Limmud Across NY, a day of “simultaneous intimate learning sessions.” Throughout the metropolitan area, individuals will be hosting participants in celebration of Jewish life, learning, and community.
The road less traveled is getting crowded. Not only are large numbers of Jews embarking on spiritual journeys, but many are writing about them, in full candor. The inner adventure story might be the Jewish book of the moment.
While bookstores are overflowing with memoirs of every stripe — the musings of people from all backgrounds, reflecting on remarkable families, abuse and dysfunction, divorce, relationships — Jewish writers seem to be revealing the details of their spiritual lives: The relationship frequently examined is that with God.
Nathan Englander's first book, "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," caused considerable buzz when it was released in 1999. Tall and slender, with a mane of dark curls and soft features befitting a biblical hero, the 30-something author became the darling of the Jewish book-fair circuit, drawing swarms of potential book buyers in Jewish Community Centers and synagogues nationwide.
Afew dozen people showed up when Bruce Kahn gave his first speech on on-line Jewish genealogical research in 1993. The setting was the annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS).
Kahn, then a research scientist at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., and a founder of the city's JGS branch, predicted that the Internet would revolutionize genealogical research.
"People thought I was crazy," he says.