cover image The Search for God at Harvard

The Search for God at Harvard

Ari L. Goldman, Author, Sandee Brawarsky, Editor Crown Publishers $20 (283p) ISBN 978-0-8129-1653-9

New York Times reporter Goldman's offbeat, soul-baring, spiritually challenging odyssey describes his year at Harvard Divinity School, in 1985. Sent by his newspaper to immerse himself in the world's religions, this Orthodox Jew felt irresistibly drawn to the rite of Catholic communion; he experienced Buddhist meditation, found close parallels between Judaism and Islam, and gauged the disarray in mainstream Protestantism. Studying sacrificial rites of the Nuer, a Sudanese tribe, helped him better understand Jewish tradition. Besides crystallizing his own beliefs, his encounters at Harvard triggered a personal catharsis as he sorted out the early trauma of his parents' divorce, a repressive yeshiva environment, his sexual liberation in the 1970s and his rise from copyboy to Times religion reporter. His painstakingly candid account is an enriching read.