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.
How do you measure intellectual influence? Richard Posner, author of the hotly debated new book “Public Intellectuals,” rates 546 public intellectuals by media mentions, Web hits and scholarly citations from 1995-2000. Certainly, top scorers like Henry Kissinger (12,570) and Salman Rushdie (7,688) occupy large space in current public discourse, but what about someone like Robert Warshow, a cultural critic who died in 1955 at the age of 37? He nets a paltry cumulative score of 190.
Despite The New York Times frequently distinguished and always-considerable attention to Jewish subjects in the last 15 years (at least), more than a few Jews continue to look upon the paper with what Elvis called ìsuspicious minds.î For most of the last century, the Times has returned the suspicion, looking upon anything Jewish with squeamishness bordering on contempt.