Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul

Naomi Levy. Flatiron, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-05726-6
Levy (To Begin Again), a rabbi and founder of Nashuva, a Jewish spiritual community in Los Angeles, uses an engaging framing device to begin this inquiry into the soul: her experience of reading a letter from Albert Einstein to Rabbi Robert Marcus, a chaplain who had been present at the liberation of Buchenwald and who had recently lost a child. The legendary scientist wrote that peace of mind could be achieved by overcoming the delusion that people are separate from the rest of the universe. That letter led Levy “on a journey that would deepen [her] understanding of the soul and eternity” as she searched for the letter Marcus had written to Einstein that had prompted the physicist’s response. That pursuit eventually paid off, but some readers won’t follow Levy’s quest to the end. The intervening sections features advice that will strike many as platitudinous; for example, her five tools to help someone move from potential to action are praying, talking to others, being honest, listening and seeing, and feeling the pain. There are some genuinely moving sections, but too often Levy’s rose-colored vision comes across as too good to be true. Readers who are fans of Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul are most likely to find this volume of use. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-9500-2
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