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. Read more...
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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 to 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" is a moving, affecting, and inspiring meditation on what it means to embrace life after everything you've known has been shattered to pieces.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-01-20
- Reviewer: Staff
This straightforward story of triumph and tragedy will tug at the hearts of its readers. Sherman is the successful rabbi of a 1,000-member synagogue in Syracuse, N.Y., expecting to move to a more prestigious position. He has been happily married for 15 years when the narrative opens in 1985, with the author and his wife Leah on vacation with their four children. One of them, Eyal, is their four-year old son who becomes the center of the story when he falls ill with a lesion on his brain. Doctor after doctor provides grim prognoses until finally a surgeon offers to operate; however, a post-surgical stroke leaves Eyal in a coma. Two years later, after continued hospitalizations, his parents take Eyal son home where, despite hardships, they help him survive and thrive; he attends school, is bar mitzvahed, and eventually graduates from college. Eyal’s astonishing story and its impact on his family is heart-warming. Connecting incidents from life to sources in Jewish theology, Sherman inspirationally sets forth how to survive in the face of calamity, making this a memorable statement. (Mar.)