Friday, March 29, 2013

Doublelife, A Couple's Transition to Orthodox Judaism

Doublelife2Doublelife by Harold & Gayle Berman is a unique non-fiction piece telling how two religiously diverse lives become one. It is written in letter form, each beginning with "Dear" and ending with "Love". The pages of Doublelife are full of sincerity and optimism as they tell the story that spans over three decades and various religious sects. 

Judging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review: 

When I took this book out of the envelope, I wasn't very excited. The cover does not do justice to this rich, well-written work of art. 

Some Details I Liked:

It was such a pleasure to read a true story written in a creative format. The dates on each letter made it easy to follow the sequence of events even when a large chunk of time had elapsed. 
I also very much enjoyed how the authors were able to portray everything through the letters, including their emotional struggles, as well as the current events. 
A third point that I was very impressed with, is the refinement in the writing. The details included are all complimentary to the story. There are not any immodest parts or stress on anything that could be considered inappropriate for a young or immature reader. 

Who This Book is For: 

The book is obviously great for other intermarried couples that are searching or in the "in between" stage. 
I would say it is also an eye opener for a child of that type of couple who needs to understand the struggle. 
As a frum from birth individual, always having been religious, I enjoyed reading about the emotional and intellectual struggle of what to commit to. 
The Bermans took a life's challenge, looked it in the eye and figured the best way to go through it. It is incredibly inspiring to read along that journey, to the point that I found myself tearing at the ending. 

Who This Book Isn’t For: 

The book isn't for someone who won't appreciate the journey through churches, temples and synagogues. 
The book does not have any major philosophical discussions nor does it teach about Christianity, but it does provide a clear, shallow picture of what goes on in various communities. 

What I Didn’t Like/Would Have Made it Better: 

There were times that I would have liked to understand what happened in those lost chunks of time, but then again, I appreciate how the authors kept the dialogue to be relevant to the sequence of events. After all, a true story doesn't need extra sub-plots to keep it interesting. 
I also would have enjoyed a few pictures. 

In Conclusion: 

The Bermans share their interesting search and discoveries, bringing you with them from when they are officially engaged as a Christian and Jew to an intermarried growing couple to a nice Jewish family. 
It is a gorgeous story, easy to read, one that I'll reread and am proud to have on my shelf.


I received this book for the purpose of reviewing it, but that it no way changed the way I read it and reviewed it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

G-d Winked, Tidbits of Inspiration

Wow, life sure has been full of twists and turns! There is nothing better than resting with a good book after a long "one of those" days.
G-d winked by Sara Yocheved Rigler is the perfect pick me up during trying times.
 It is also great for someone looking for some real life inspiration.
Judging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:
The cover is bright and colorful. If you look a bit deeper, you see images that give you a taste of the rich background that the author draws from through the pages of the book. 
Based on the cover, I expected light, easy to read, short tales that would leave me inspired. 
Some Details I Liked:
I liked how the book is separated, beginning with vignettes and anecdotes from Mrs. Rigler's distant and more recent past, and ending with lessons for various times of the year.
G-d Winked's chapters also vary in their intensity. Meaning that the chapters switch off from tear jerkers to softly inspiring episodes. There are also a few parts that are straight lessons in hashkafa (world outlook). This makes it easy for a reader to go cover to cover in one sitting. 
Who This Book is For:
Mrs. Rigler shares her thoughts on various personal experiences. Some are geared more for the female audience, but overall, any mature individual will gain a lot from this well-written book.
People who can relate to having a life journey or feel that they appreciate their life after reading about someone else's, will enjoy this book as well.
Who This Book Isn’t For:
I would not give this book to a beginner to Judaism nor a young reader. Inspiration is one of those things that only have the proper affect when given at the right time. I can imagine that some of the stories wouldn't be taken in the right light for someone that isn't up to that standard of living.  
This book, along with many others that I'll review, is not for the closed minded. It discusses parts of living in an ashram, which personally I did not feel were offensive, but would not be surprised if others would.
What I Didn’t Like/Would Have Made it Better: 
This part is hard because I very much enjoyed the book. I must say that I expected it to be a little more of a "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type of book, which it isn't. It is not packed with stories that tug at your heart, instead it has a stew of flavorful tales and lessons. 
In Conclusion:
If you're looking for a book that you can read from cover to cover, but also that you can put down between chapters, G-d Winked is the book for you. It will leave you with food for thought and lend a new perspective on some plain old aspects of life.