The Broken and the Whole Discovering Joy after Heartbreak

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 3/10/2015
  • Publisher: Scribner

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A wise, uplifting memoir about a rabbi’s search for understanding and his discovery of hope and joy after his young son suffered a catastrophic brain-stem stroke: “Deeply moving, extraordinarily thought-provoking, and entirely humane” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

As a young, ambitious rabbi at one of New York’s largest synagogues, Charles Sherman had high expectations for what his future would hold—a happy and healthy family, professional success, and recognition. Then, early one morning in 1986, everything changed. His son Eyal spiked a fever and was soon in serious respiratory distress. Doctors discovered a lesion on the four-year-old’s brain stem. Following high-risk surgery, Eyal suffered a stroke. Sherman and his wife later learned that their son would never walk, talk, feed himself, or breathe on his own again—yet his mind was entirely intact. He was still the curious, intelligent boy they had always known.

The ground had shifted beneath the Sherman family’s feet, yet over the next thirty years, they were able to find comfort, pleasure, and courage in one another, their community, their faith, and in the love they shared. The experience pointed Rabbi Sherman toward the answers of some of life’s biggest questions: To what lengths should parents go to protect their children? How can we maintain faith in God when tragedy occurs? Is it possible to experience joy alongside continuing heartbreak?

Now, with deep insight, refreshing honesty, humor, and intelligence, Charles Sherman reflects back on his life and describes his struggle to address and ultimately answer these questions. The Broken and the Whole “inspirationally sets forth how to survive in the face of calamity” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) beautifully showing what it means to embrace life after everything you’ve known has been shattered to pieces.

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