Generation J by Lisa Schiffman

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Synopsis

"I'm not alone. I am part of a generation of fragmented Jews. We're in a kind of limbo. We're suspended between young adulthood and middle age, between Judaism and atheism, between a desire to believe in religion and a personal history of skepticism. Call us a bunch of searchers. Call us post-Holocaust Jews. Call us Generation J."

Generation J is the ambivalent generation: unaffiliated seekers, men and women who have grown up questioning the bounds of organized religion. Lisa Schiffman is one of these seekers, and Generation J chronicles her journey through the contradictory landscape of Jewish identity. Moving from the personal to the universal, from autobiography to anthropology, from laughter to tears, Schiffman shows us the many ways in which one can be religious.

Whether dipping into a ritual bath, getting henna-tattooed with the Star of David, unravelling the mysteries of the kabbalah, or confronting what Jewish tradition has to say about gay marriage, Schiffman reveals the conflicts of meaning and connection common to all who try to chart their own spiritual path. And, through it all, with humor and sensitivity, she confronts the reasons for her own quest and begins to untangle some of the thorniest questions about identity, community, and religion in America today.

This engaging exploration of what it means to be Jewish is every bit as much a fascinating tour of the varieties of contemporary Jewish practice as it is an unusual personal quest. Smart, funny, and provocative, Schiffman brilliantly explores the problems and possibilities facing any spiritual seeker today.

 

About Lisa Schiffman

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Lisa Schiffman earned a master's degree in social anthropology from Oxford University. She was formerly the associate editor of the "San Francisco Review of Books" and has published her prose in "Zyzzyva, " where it was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She works now as an Internet strategist on the Web sites of major corporations.
 
Published May 21, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 180 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Religion & Spirituality, History. Non-fiction

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But Schiffman identifies the problem with her idiosyncratic approach to Judaism when she confesses that “groups, especially ones made up of religious Jews, made me uncomfortable.” Her body tatoo of David’s star seems her easy substitute for the much more difficult embodiment of Judaism in flesh-a...

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Publishers Weekly

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A former editor at the San Francisco Review of Books, Schiffman presents a spiritual journey that has a Northern Californian cast: she attends a workshop on Judaism and psychology, talks with Rodger Kamenetz (author of The Jew in the Lotus), and interviews Rabbi Lew, who headed the Berkeley Zen c...

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