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From award-winning journalist Stephen Fried, here is a compelling chronicle of the Har Zion Temple on Philadelphia’s Main Line and its lengthy, complicated, and intricate search for a new rabbi.
For the last seventy-five years Har Zion Temple has been one of the largest and most influential congregations in America. For thirty years Rabbi Gerald Wolpe has been its spiritual leader, a brilliant sermonizer of wide renown. However, once his retirement is announced, a remarkable nationwide search process, largely unknown to the lay world, ensues.
Rabbi Wolpe agrees to give extraordinary access to Fried, inviting him—and the reader—into the intense personal and professional life of the clergy and the complex behind-the-scenes life of a major Conservative congregation. Fried's expose reveals a unique view of Judaism in practice and also provides a front-row seat at the usually clandestine process of choosing a new rabbi. When what was expected to be a simple one-year search for Rabbi Wolpe’s successor extends to two years and then three, Fried is there every step of the way to document the various on-goings.
Rich in anecdote and scenes of wonderful immediacy, this is a riveting book about the search for personal faith, about the tension between secular concerns and ancient tradition in affluent America, and about what Wolpe himself has called “the retail business of religion.”
"...a compelling triple memoir, simultaneously recording Wolpe's career, Fried's own journey toward Judaism and a community's evolution."—Publisher's Weekly