Hawking God: A Young Jewish Woman's Ordeal in Jews for Jesus

Ellen Kamentsky, Author
Ellen Kamentsky, Author Sapphire Press $11.75 (0p) ISBN 978-1-882459-00-1
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Kamentsky spent three years in Jews for Jesus, including some time as a staff member and missionary, an experience that she looks back on with loathing and some hard-earned self-awareness. At its best, this book is a portrait of Jews for Jesus as a group that combines the worst aspects of cult behavior and Reagan-era grabbiness. Unfortunately, she is so close to the emotional tensions of that period of her life that much of the book has a hectoring, shrill tone, weakened by relentlessly negative characterizations from the outset; the reader quickly begins to wonder why she joined in the first place. Regrettably, the answer to that question is unsatisfying. Though Kamentsky explains how a frenzied life in New York City left her with a spiritual void, the one instance of moral hypocrisy she encountered at a community seder fails to account for why she turned to Christianity to fill it. On the positive side, she tellingly limns the group's obsessive drive to make more and more converts. But as Kamentsky tells of her rise up the ``corporate'' ladder, the book begins to resemble a confessional by a burnt-out yuppie climber. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
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