Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life--in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There) (Hardcover)
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A renowned political speechwriter rediscovers Judaism, finding timeless wisdom and spiritual connection in its age-old practices and traditions.
“Sarah Hurwitz was Michelle Obama’s head speechwriter, and with this book she becomes Judaism’s speechwriter.”—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals
After a decade as a political speechwriter—serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, and chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign—Sarah Hurwitz decided to apply her skills as a communicator to writing a book . . . about Judaism. And no one is more surprised than she is.
Hurwitz was the quintessential lapsed Jew—until, at age thirty-six, after a tough breakup, she happened upon an advertisement for an introductory class on Judaism. She attended on a whim, but was blown away by what she found: beautiful rituals, helpful guidance on living an ethical life, conceptions of God beyond the judgy bearded man in the sky—none of which she had learned in Hebrew school or during the two synagogue services she grudgingly attended each year. That class led to a years-long journey during which Hurwitz visited the offices of rabbis, attended Jewish meditation retreats, sat at the Shabbat tables of Orthodox families, and read hundreds of books about Judaism—all in dogged pursuit of answers to her biggest questions. What she found transformed her life, and she wondered: How could there be such a gap between the richness of what Judaism offers and the way so many Jews like her understand and experience it?
Hurwitz is on a mission to close this gap by sharing the profound insights she discovered on everything from Jewish holidays, ethics, and prayer to Jewish conceptions of God, death, and social justice. In this entertaining and accessible book, she shows us why Judaism matters and how its message is more relevant than ever, and she inspires Jews to do the learning, questioning, and debating required to make this religion their own.
Advance praise for Here All Along
“Searching for meaning in the ancient scripture and traditions of Judaism, Sarah Hurwitz takes us along on an enriching journey of discovery. In Here All Along, she explores her birthright as a Jew and finds timeless and valuable life lessons.”—David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama
About the Author
From 2009 to 2017, Sarah Hurwitz worked in the White House, serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama and as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama. Prior to working in government, Hurwitz was the chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 campaign for president and a speechwriter for Senator John Kerry and General Wesley Clark during the 2004 presidential election. Hurwitz is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
“Sarah Hurwitz writes beautifully about her journey from Hebrew school dropout to thoughtful commentator on her heritage. She shows how this system of thought, founded in the time of shepherds, can be surprisingly relevant to modern life, with wisdom on such contemporary topics as mindfulness, gratitude, work/life balance, and politics. I recommend this book to all, no matter where you lie on the religious spectrum.”—A. J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically
“Here All Along is exactly the introduction to Judaism that smart, thoughtful readers need: Not a How-to guide to these incredibly rich and relevant traditions, but a Why-to guide that illuminates—boldly, bravely, and beautifully—why Judaism matters and how its wisdom can transform us. It's been here all along, but now it's here in the book in your hands, waiting for you. Open it, and discover what you've been missing.”—Dara Horn, author of Eternal Life
“What an achievement—to have found a way to make every aspect of Judaism utterly accessible, digestible, and emotional all at once, in one riveting volume. This is an uncanny primer for anyone wanting to understand Judaism, and also a revealing portrait of one famous speechwriter who couldn’t believe what she’d been missing all along.”—Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew
“Repeatedly drawing on her life experiences, Sarah Hurwitz paints a vision of a Judaism that is wise, intellectually rigorous, experiential, accessible—and, quite frankly, exciting. Even when I disagree with her, she invites me into her world. This is a book we have been waiting for, and Hurwitz is an important new voice on the Jewish scene.”—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Words That Hurt, Words That Heal and Jewish Literacy