Before packing away his robes, Simon Glustrom was a practicing rabbi for forty-three years. One of the compelling reasons for deciding to write a memoir was in response to the endless variety of questions about the interior life of a rabbi: Who influenced him to enter the rabbinate? Can a rabbi have religious doubts and still be true to his calling? Would he repeat such a rigorous life if he knew from the beginning the demands that would be made upon him? This book provides the reader with some uncommon answers. The author does not hesitate to reveal some of his lingering doubts, regrets and fears even as he refers with pride to his skills and strengths.
Rabbi Glustrom reaches back to his early youth in Atlanta. He recalls some of the unheralded personalities who influenced him during his most impressionable years and impacted on his life in college, in rabbinical school and in the broader community. The author feels the need to "sing" on behalf of his unsung heroes.
Much of this memoir deals with the human and spiritual problems the author encountered in a new suburban congregation in Fair Lawn, New Jersey where he served as the first rabbi. Nostalgically he recalls those pioneering years in the Fifties and documents some of the monumental changes that took place over four decades, including some of the unresolved crises, such as the problem of egalitarianism in synagogue life.
Clergy and lay people will identify with much of the rich anecdotal material, from the humorous to the pathetic, that is so candidly expressed in this memoir.
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October 02, 2000
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