And They Shall Be My People: An American Rabbi and His Congregation

Paul Wilkes, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $23 (348p) ISBN 978-0-87113-561-2
Wilkes spent a year with Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, leader of Congregation Beth Israel, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Worcester, Mass. This report is a searching meditation based on the assumption that American Jewry is fragmented, diluted and facing a precarious future. Rabbi Rosenbaum, who zealously attempts to reach alienated Jews and to nudge the marginally observant toward greater commitment, emerges as confident yet deeply frustrated as he copes with intermarriages, declining membership, a stagnant budget and the resentment of congregants uncomfortable with his demands for stricter observance. A congregational trip to Israel unleashes pent-up emotions in the rabbi and his wife, Janine, who contemplate relocating there. (For most of the book, Janine seems bitterly disillusioned and peeved at her frequently absent husband.) Wilkes (In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest), who is Catholic, brings a sympathetic perspective to this probe. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Religion
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-8021-3725-8
Paperback - 351 pages - 978-0-345-39434-7
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