STONES IN THE SOUL: One Day in the Life of an American Rabbi by Ben Kamin

STONES IN THE SOUL: One Day in the Life of an American Rabbi

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An American Reform rabbi's clichÉd and vapid critique of his community and country, The book's subtitle might better read ""One Day in the Death of American Jewry,"" as the rabbi's oft-interrupted journal is dominated by several funerals. In what seems an obvious attempt to echo Harold Kushner, Kamin treats us to hackneyed statements of condolence and to the post-Holocaust (post Kushner) theology of an impotent God who is around but not involved, who wants us to be good but not to obey divine laws. We are puzzled rather than impressed by Kamin's ""ordination"" of Challenger victim Christa McAuliffe: ""No Jew could not have sensed her symbolic role as rabbi."" Readers with the slightest empathy for Jewish national aspirations are also likely to be unimpressed by the teary-eyed boat scene of his father at the Statue of Liberty--since the family is emigrating from Israel rather than Tsarist Russia. There are some articulate criticisms of our Astroturf/shopping-mall culture, but they come years after Goodbye, Columbus and other, better hooks with this message. Kamin and his book need more lightness, even spiritual joy, to counterbalance all the heavy soulstones of pain and loss and his crisis-management theology.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Macmillan