AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT: A Father's Journey Through Loss

Leonard Fein, Author
Leonard Fein, Author . Jewish Lights $19.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-58023-110-7
Reviewed on: 05/14/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-58023-197-8
Open Ebook - 978-1-58023-786-4
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On January 29, 1996, Fein's 30-year-old daughter, Nomi, collapsed suddenly and died minutes later, leaving behind a husband, a young daughter and a grieving family. In order to come to terms with the loss, Fein (Where Are We?: The Inner Life of America's Jews) narrates his memories of his daughter as well as his own attempts to understand her death. In the first section, which chronicles the first year after the tragedy, Fein interweaves scenes of her death and funeral with vignettes from her life. Nomi's brilliance and her deep love for others and for social justice provide a poignant counterpoint to Fein's own rehearsal of the loss generated by her death. The second section presents Fein's agonizing questions about why his daughter, of all people, had to die, and how we can justify the ways of God to humankind. Certainly Fein experiences a wide range of feelings, from anger and bitterness to acceptance, but he beautifully describes his life without Nomi as "the enduring presence of an absence." In the final section, Fein writes a letter to his five-year-old granddaughter, Liat, offering the stories of her grandparents and her mother and encouraging Liat to choose life and love in the midst of the chaos of the world. Although Fein sometimes engages in self-conscious philosophizing, his honest and searing words powerfully evoke the deeply felt loss of a child. (June)

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