cover image The Broken and the Whole: Discovering Joy after Heartbreak

The Broken and the Whole: Discovering Joy after Heartbreak

Charles S. Sherman. Scribner, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5616-9

This straightforward story of triumph and tragedy will tug at the hearts of its readers. Sherman is the successful rabbi of a 1,000-member synagogue in Syracuse, N.Y., expecting to move to a more prestigious position. He has been happily married for 15 years when the narrative opens in 1985, with the author and his wife Leah on vacation with their four children. One of them, Eyal, is their four-year old son who becomes the center of the story when he falls ill with a lesion on his brain. Doctor after doctor provides grim prognoses until finally a surgeon offers to operate; however, a post-surgical stroke leaves Eyal in a coma. Two years later, after continued hospitalizations, his parents take Eyal son home where, despite hardships, they help him survive and thrive; he attends school, is bar mitzvahed, and eventually graduates from college. Eyal’s astonishing story and its impact on his family is heart-warming. Connecting incidents from life to sources in Jewish theology, Sherman inspirationally sets forth how to survive in the face of calamity, making this a memorable statement. (Mar.)