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The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life's Greatest Mystery #2020

The December Project An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life s Greatest Mystery In the tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture New York Times bestselling author Sara Davidson met every Friday with year old Rabbi Zalman Shachter Shalomi the iconic founder of th

  • Title: The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life's Greatest Mystery
  • Author: Sara Davidson
  • ISBN: 9780062281746
  • Page: 224
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life's Greatest Mystery By Sara Davidson, In the tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture, New York Times bestselling author Sara Davidson met every Friday with 89 year old Rabbi Zalman Shachter Shalomi, the iconic founder of the Jewish Renewal movment, to discuss what he calls The December Project When you can feel in your cells that you re coming to the end of your tour of duty, he said, what iIn the tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture, New York Times bestselling author Sara Davidson met every Friday with 89 year old Rabbi Zalman Shachter Shalomi, the iconic founder of the Jewish Renewal movment, to discuss what he calls The December Project When you can feel in your cells that you re coming to the end of your tour of duty, he said, what is the spiritual work of this time, and how do we prepare for the mystery Davidson, who has a seeker s heart and a skeptic s mind, jumped at the chance to spend time with him She d long feared that death would be a complete annihilation, while Reb Zalman felt certain that something continues He said he didn t want to convince her of anything What I want is to loosen your mind Through their talks, he wanted to help people not freak out about dying, and enable them to have a heightened and grateful life.For two years, they met every week, and this is Davidson s memoir of what they learned and how they changed Interspersed with their talks are sketches from Reb Zalman s extraordinary life He barely escaped the Nazis, became an Orthodox rabbi in the US, was married four times and had eleven children, one from a sperm donation to a lesbian rabbi, and formed friendships with leaders of other faiths, such as Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama Breaking with the Orthodox, he founded the Jewish Renewal Movement to encourage people to have a direct experience of God.During their time together, Davidson was nearly killed by a suicide bomb, and Reb Zalman struggled with a steep decline in health Together they created strategies to deal with pain and memory loss, and found tools to cultivate simplicity, fearlessness, and joy at any age Davidson includes twelve exercises so that readers may experience what she did a sea change in facing what we all must face mortality.

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      Published :2020-04-24T05:11:36+00:00

    1 thought on “The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and a Skeptical Seeker Confront Life's Greatest Mystery

    1. I loved THE DECEMBER PROJECT for so many reasons I hardly know where to begin Sara Davidson asked the very questions of Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi that I would have, about the mystery of death in the context of an extremely vital life I saw Reb Zalman only once, at a Bar Mitzvah, and felt the depth of his presence Sara Davidson brings her own brilliant discernment to her conversations with him over a two year period Their discussions illuminate profound questions of the inner life, made all [...]

    2. The December Project is an account of weekly meetings between an elderly Jewish Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi and a skeptical Jewish journalist Sara Davidson as the old rabbi feels his body winding down in what he calls the December years of life.Having no real background in Judaism I was a little overwhelmed by the heavy use of what I guess are Yiddish terms and references to Jewish ceremonies and holy events, but in no way is this book trying to convert the reader to Judaism.The December Proj [...]

    3. I wrote and posted a review for this book than a month ago, but for some reason, that review mysteriously disappeared Cue eery music here So, let s give er another go, because I truly LOVED this book What did I think Turn to the word wonderful in your thesaurus See all those words there THAT S what I think of this book And then some.Do you consider yourself a seeker I mean, have you consciously sought a better understanding of yourself, of life, spirituality, and death Yes, death I know it isn [...]

    4. What did I think Turn to the word wonderful in your thesaurus See all those words there THAT S what I think of this book And then some.Do you consider yourself a seeker I mean, have you consciously sought a better understanding of yourself, of life, spirituality, and death Yes, death I know it isn t a topic many people feel comfortable discussing around the dinner table or anywhere else, for that matter but don t you sometimes wonder about it After all, death is life s ultimate mystery and final [...]

    5. I read on a Facebook post that Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi recently died and this book was mentioned I hadn t ever heard of the Rabbi, and the book sounded interesting, so out of respect and curiosity I decided to read about The December Project It was hard to rate this book using the five star system in place on So take my three star rating with a grain of salt What I can absolutely say is the Rabbi Zalman sounded like a most remarkable man One about whom I am very glad to now be aware In ou [...]

    6. This looked like a really good book, but I found it to be form than substance I expected another Tuesdays With Morrie, but I felt it didn t measure up The book tells stories about the rabbi s and the author s backgrounds, as well as some of the stories in the rabbi s repertoire These were interesting enough to keep me reading, and they both seem like wonderful people The stories were meant as metaphors for deeper lessons, of course, but I found them so obscure and hidden that I essentially miss [...]

    7. This book consists of a dialogue between a writer in her sixties and a Rabbi in his eighties, what he calls the December of his life For two years, every Friday they get together and discuss life, death, rebirth, religion, and aging Along the way, we get a bird s eye view of the Rabbi s life, as well as a peek into the author s life The Rabbi is experiencing his body slowing down the skeptical seeker author barely misses being killed in a suicide bombing on a trip to Afghanistan, and shortly aft [...]

    8. I feel really mixed about this book The topic is terrific, and the exercises at the end are quite doable and make a lot of sense The section on forgiving people you ve harmed, people who ve harmed you, and forgiving yourself make reading the book worthwhile My disappointment has to do with parts of the book seeming to be too simplistic without the depth I expected from such a renowned rabbi On the other hand, the tidbits about the life of the rabbi rebbe allowed me to begin to appreciate what he [...]

    9. Julie and Julia for Old Jews Reb Zalman s wisdom, life enthusiasm and God enthusiasm in between inevitable kranks and kvetches compelling Sara Davidson s mostly kvetches not I think the exercises at the end will prove doable and valuable The history of Jewish Renewal has probably been told elsewhere, but as a practitioner, I was interested to know it, especially its roots in Lubavitcher Chassidism.Davidson s whinging the Julie part was disturbing I did not mean to laugh, but being somewhere else [...]

    10. A book similar to Tuesdays with Morrie, except it is Fridays with 85 year old Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi Throughout the book he reminisces about the past with stories of meaning and history such as his family s escape from the Nazis, the 60 s and the drug experience and sexual revolution, and meeting other spiritual leaders Also, through the two years of interviews, the reader follows his progression of aging and decline of the body Near the end of the book, Reb explains exercises that were [...]

    11. I ve been fascinated by this out of the box man ever since I read a book of his about chassidus Though these reflections are far apt for a person of advanced age, it is good, methinks, to get a thought preview on the process as I turn 40 and enter middle age I was just as fascinated with the ruminations as I was when reading Christopher Hitchens Mortality , though, clearly, the road taken, and lessons learned, vary greatly The chronicler kept it real by allowing her stressful musings to be at [...]

    12. Zalman Schachter Shalomi, founder of Renewal Judaism and recently deceased , and Sara Davidson, author and journalist, got together weekly a few years ago in Boulder, Colorado, where they both live, for talks about mortality and end of life issues this book is the result It brims with love, wisdom, and joy The exercises at the end of the book are invaluable, not just for elders but for us all Lessons in forgiveness, gratitude, and surrender are ones we would do well to inculcate, no matter what [...]

    13. I liked this book but didn t love it Rabbi Zalman, who recently passed away was a remarkable man The book tackles a difficult subject, the end of life, with candor and humor In the end, Rabbi Zalman talks about letting go at the end of life which is what I believe so many of us struggle with I rated the book four stars instead of five because I was left wanting from Rabbi Zalman More wisdom and a thorough discussion of some of this insights.

    14. Got this book as an ARC from and was interested to give it a try, but I just couldn t get into it I thought it would be deep and philosophical, or even address how Jews are supposed to view death, but really it was about one person, and the story did not draw me in I have nothing really good or bad to say about the book, it just wasn t for me.

    15. Definitely worth reading Makes you reflect and appreciate life while coming to a better understanding of old age and death Definitely an important topic that helps me to tune into my grandmothers on a different level of compassion and spirituality.

    16. This is a must read It opens up the conversation that we never want to have the last month of the year, the last chapter in our journey of life.Insightful, heartfelt and intelligent The book has helped me come to peace with the passing of both my parents and in laws.

    17. This book gave me a lot to think about Although I didn t know much about the Hasidic traditions, nor the Jewish Renewal movement, I learned quite a lot from The December Project It is changing how I see my life and what I want to accomplish.

    18. This is a self help book for those of us who are aging The Rabbi is a remarkable person There are exercises at the end for learning to accept the changes we experience as we age Ultimately, we will all need to let go Whether we do so gracefully is up to us.

    19. Reb Zalman was an incredible person This book is the story of his life and his path as an Orthodox Jew to starting the Jewish Renewal movement It is also about winding down your life and letting go A great book filled with wisdom.

    20. A study of things that are important as one approaches the end of life The author is in her 60s Her partner is in his 80s and is an extremely important rabbi, the founder of the renewal movement.

    21. Interesting, to read about the life of Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, who was in at the beginning of Jewish Renewal, along with personal reactions of the author, Sara Davidson.

    22. Hard topic to read about but I felt very enlightened learning about zalman Having been to Jewish renewal services I really appreciated the perspective

    23. Definitely food for thought, involving two people who have researched outside their main religion for answers to the questions we either have or will face in our lives highly recommended reading

    24. Colorado author and skeptic Sara Davidson chronicles her relationship and discussions on spirituality and life with a Rabbi This brand new book is a good choice for fans of Tuesdays with Morrie.

    25. Thought this was a wonderful book Really made me think about the way I approach each day Very grateful I read this.

    26. An interesting introduction to the rebbe who created the Jewish Renewal movement and his thoughts on living and dying.

    27. The last few chapters are the best Most of the book is too much about Davidson and not enough of Reb s wonderful wisdom and perspectives, given my expectations.

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