"formerly religious" executive; a journalist considering becoming observant; a well-known actress who feels her entire life is one big show – they, and others, confront their uncertainties and challenges in life, in a cultural-spiritual center in the heart of their bustling home city, Tel Aviv. It is at these meetings that they remove their masks and put their real lives "on the table." Their rare candor is presented here in their authentic email correspondence, describing their human experiences and uncertainties about their purpose in life, about their love and loneliness, and about poignant issues concerning Jewish law and faith.
In our generation, a person meets his or her Jewishness through streams of impersonal information, and no longer in the warm and intimate manner in which our tradition has always been passed down from generation to generation. In contrast, in his responses to his questioning correspondents, Meir Dorfman attempts to introduce them to the original Jewish experience. He presents the original, humane, attentive Judaism that provides a feeling of belonging, gives answers for life beyond religion, and shares a deep, relevant experience that greatly values not only answers, but also searching and questioning.
This book thus presents a new, state-of-the-art model for the study of faith and Jewish wisdom.
"This is the best book explaining Judaism published in recent years, especially on the issues of modesty and the status of women in Judaism."
- Rabbi Shlomo Raanan,
Chairman of the Ayelet HaShachar organization
"This is a very important book for you to publish, exactly as written, and takes priority over your work of [Talmudic] insights; every work is important, but we have many rabbis and yeshiva heads today who publish their Talmudic novellae - while this work is unique and very lacking."
- The Jerusalem Gaon
Rabbi Shlomo Fischer,
Dean of Yeshivat Itri
"I believe that you have been truly blessed with the gift of writing so that people can understand, at eye level, on matters that are so necessary for many of our Jewish brethren."
- Yonadav Kaploun,
"The questions asked in the text are not taken only from the discipline of Judaism, but rather deal with human issues… Dorfman makes Judaism accessible, and religion as well… He does not "force" anything, not even his own opinion, but rather answers with sincerity, objectively, as much as possible, and even reveals his own feelings – all in order to help the "asker." You get a genuine feeling that he truly cares.
He is not afraid to deal even with topics that are ostensibly liable to clash with Jewish faith. The text gives a sense of informality, of a lack of condescension, and mainly – that "everything" can be asked, and will be answered with serious consideration. This is an educational, interesting and refreshing text that does not evoke antagonism. It is charming, in my opinion, that Dorfman's answers have no "absolute truth." He quotes secular intellectuals ... contributing to the objectivity of his answers.
- from the professional assessment of the "first readers" of the
Steimatsky Publishing House
"I was drawn into the book, and I finished it in one day… I felt a great identification with the stories recounted there, and that actually, I'm one of them, asking my questions as he answers with special sensitivity, not like a rabbi – perhaps more like a close friend giving advice, or even a psychologist… The book is suitable for any person who feels that he has doubts, or questions that no one was able to answer.
- from the Tapuz website
This is a fascinating story of a process of deep connection with Judaism that occurs, of all places, in the heart of modern Tel Aviv. What formed the basis for this open atmosphere is the combination of Israeli song gatherings and Hassidic melodies, Talmud classes and technical insights by R. Shimon Shkop (!), the writings of Rav Kook and Rav Tzadok, Hassidic "tishes," heart-to-heart talks into the deep of the night, close attentiveness and much humanity.