Growing up in Manhattan, I didn't need to drive. But after three years of living in Michigan, where buses and subways were no longer at my doorstep, it was time to learn. I passed my driver's test (because it didn't require me to parallel park), and bought a used red-and-white Plymouth Reliant K. My parents quickly insured my purchase with something they knew I would need to support my fledgling skill set - a AAA membership.
My long-legged 9-year-old clambers onto my lap, her eye-rolling cynicism suppressed for the moment. Together we wait, staring at the computer screen’s still image of an Israeli flag, listening as the sentimental strains of a symphony rise up. But when a disembodied voice explodes in song, Talia joins in, belting out the Hebrew words with a gusto she usually reserves for Broadway show tunes, her torso swaying from the effort. My daughter is caught up in the love and hope and dreams of “Hatikvah.”
Twenty years later, a book sparks an exchange between author and reader.
Ari L. Goldman
Special To The Jewish Week
Writing a book, I recently told a friend, is like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You never know who might find it, read it and think of it.
It’s been 20 years since I wrote my first book, “The Search for God at Harvard,” and I still occasionally get notes about it from unexpected places. Sometimes I learn more from my correspondents than I ever put in that original bottle.
This past December, I wrote my (secular) New Year's Resolution article for the Jewish Week called, "Live Like a Movie Star.". In that article, I made a commitment - in print - that I would stop thinking about myself as a coach who just happens to write a column of careless musings, and to start regarding myself as a real writer.
In my third year of rabbinical school, I began a student pulpit in Florida. One part of my two-year experience there that will always stay with me involved my work with a prospective convert, Tammy. In the middle of my first year, she approached me to discuss the possibility of conversion to Judaism. She had read quite a bit about Judaism already, and she really felt that the Jewish community was her true home.