cover image Lovesong: Becoming a Jew

Lovesong: Becoming a Jew

Julius Lester. Henry Holt & Company, $17.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-0588-2

Lester, son of a black southern Methodist minister, writes of the eventful odyssey that culminated in his conversion to Judaism. The private journey was often at odds with his public life. As writer, radio commentator in New York and college professor at the University of Massachusetts, Lester's outspoken and unconventional views often angered blacks as well as whites, and placed him in a political and philosophical fray between blacks and Jews. His spiritual quest, begun here with a lovingly detailed sketch of his southern heritage, took many turns, involving visits to sites of faith (Gethsemani Abbey, Wounded Knee, Shakertown) and intensive exploration of religious cultures, until he acknowledged the pull of the Jewish faith. He discusses his interracial marriage and fatherhood, and pays moving tribute to the fulfillment he finds in celebrating the Jewish faith. Lester is the author of Look Out, Whitey! Black Power's Gon' Get Your Mama! and To Be a Slave. (January 29)