A Daughter's Kaddish

My Year of Grief, Devotion, and Healing

Sarah Birnbach

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Sachbuch / Biographien, Autobiographien


A woman breaks with Jewish tradition to honor her late father in this moving memoir of faith, grief, and transformation.

A Daughter’s Kaddish recounts Sarah Birnbach’s year-long odyssey to persevere through an unfamiliar world of Jewish prayer and chart a course without a road map. A novice worshipper and single working mother, Sarah encountered many obstacles—including vehement objections to her recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish because of her gender, her own daughter’s near-fatal car accident, an incident that tore her synagogue apart, and her mother’s hostility and dismissiveness.

To honor her beloved father, Sarah commits to saying Kaddish twice a day in synagogue for eleven months, as is stipulated by her religion. Sarah attempts to incorporate these new religious and spiritual practices into her already hectic twenty-first-century life while struggling with the heavy emotional distress of grief. As she travels the country for work, Sarah must find a synagogue where she can pray in each city and town she visits, a challenge that brings many surprises—and upsets. Throughout her year of devotion, Sarah takes comfort in the loving memories of her childhood while at the same time grappling with some very painful ones—ultimately discovering how the path of faith and grief can lead to true healing.



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