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My Jewish Year

The much-dissected Pew Research Center study of 2013, "A Portrait of Jewish Americans," revealed that most U.S. Jews locate their Jewishness in their ancestry and culture-not in religion. Abigail Pogrebin wondered if perhaps that's because we haven't all looked at religion closely enough. Although she grew up following some holiday rituals, Pogrebin realized how little she knew about their foundational purpose and current relevance. She wanted to understand what had kept these holidays alive and vibrant, in some cases for thousands of years. Her curiosity led her to embark on an entire year of intensive research, observation, and writing about the milestones on the Jewish calendar.My Jewish Year travels through this calendar's signposts with candor, humor, and a trove of information, capturing the arc of Jewish observance through the eyes of a relatable, wandering-and wondering-Jew. The chapters are interspersed with brief reflections from prominent rabbis and Jewish thinkers.Maybe you're seeking an accessible, digestible roadmap for Jewish life. Maybe you'd appreciate a fresh exploration of what you've mastered. Whatever your motivation, you'll be educated, entertained, and inspired by Pogrebin's unusual journey-and by My Jewish Year.
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About the Author

Abigail Pogrebin, a former 60 Minutes producer for Mike Wallace, is the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish (Doubleday/Broadway Books), which went into eight hardcover printings, was featured on Good Morning America and Charlie Rose, and was adapted for the Off-Broadway stage in a Daryl Roth production. Pogrebin's second book was a deep examination of twinship titled One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to be Singular, published in 2009 and featured on The Today Show, NPR and in Newsweek. Pogrebin is also the author of Showstopper, a 2011 bestselling Kindle Single about her adventure in the original cast of the Sondheim misfire, "Merrily We Roll Along." She has written for numerous publications including Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, The Forward and Tablet. She lives in New York. A.J. Jacobs is the editor of What It Feels Like and the author of The Two Kings: Jesus and Elvis and America Off-Line. He is the senior editor of Esquire and has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, New York magazine, New York Observer, and other publications. He lives in New York.


Praise for My Jewish Year: "To understand the Jewish calendar, Abigail Pogrebin immersed herself in its rhythms and rituals for a full 12 months. Her riveting account of this experience serves as a lively introduction to Judaism's holidays and fast days and opens a window on how Judaism is actually lived in 21st-century America." --Jonathan D. Sarna, Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University; author of American Judaism: A History "With wit, warmth, and the fierce, searching curiosity that is her trademark, Abigail Pogrebin takes us on an intimate, powerful journey as she reckons with her faith and commitment, and in so doing, gives us the gift of exploring our own. This book will speak to everyone who wonders why we do what we do, and isn't content with the answer that our fathers and mothers did it before us. I absolutely loved it." --Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion "A superb point-of-entry volume for anyone who wants to bring Jewish holidays into their lives, and a great refresher course for veterans who need their holidays re-energized. Pogrebin's style is engaging, and her insights are deep." --Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Rebbe and Jewish Literacy "In My Jewish Year, Abigail Pogrebin takes on the holiday cycle with a keen mind, an open heart, and a generous sense of humor. This is the perfect gift for anyone thinking about moving up another rung on the ladder of Jewish observance--or for exploring the tradition for the first time." --Joshua Malina, actor in Scandal and The West Wing "Abigail Pogrebin's candid exploration of Judaism via 18 core holidays is not only informative but also extremely relatable, for Jews and non-Jews alike. Her journey to locate modern-day meaning in these religious traditions--some of which are thousands of years old--is both relevant and soulful." --Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder and CEO, FEED Projects "Abigail Pogrebin's journey through the Jewish year is honest, illuminating, entertaining, and incredibly brave. She is willing to go deep into a complex religious culture to find out if and how it has meaning for her, and in so doing, lights the way for the rest of us. Even if you read every word of her project in the Forward--as I did--you will find new material and and so many fresh, surprising insights in this remarkable book." --Jane Eisner, Editor-in-Chief, Forward Praise for Stars of David: "Consistently engaging...Pogrebin says this book grew out of her efforts to clarify her own Jewish identity. But you don't need to be on such a quest to enjoy the wide range of experiences and feelings recorded here." --Publishers Weekly "Pogrebin not only succeeded in securing access to dozens of celebrities, but also managed the difficult task of getting them to open up about a facet of their very public lives that generally has remained private." --The Forward "A great read." --Women in Judaism "A provocative and enjoyable book for Jews and gentiles alike." --Library Journal "Stars of David is an endearing book done with skill and taste." --New York Post "A fascinating book." --The Charlotte Observer Praise for One and the Same: "Spot on. An honest explanation of how multiples feel about the relationship into which they were born." --Newsweek "An immensely satisfying, enlightening read." --BookPage "A fresh alternative to traditional how-to guidebooks for parents expecting two or more." --Twins magazine "This book about what it means to be a duplicate is smart and revealing and wise--and, well, singular." --The Daily Beast "Pogrebin's candor about her own twinship [is] endearing... A juicy read." --Bookslut

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