Cover image for Kindling the flame : reflections on ritual, faith, and family
Kindling the flame : reflections on ritual, faith, and family
Israeloff, Roberta, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [1998]

Physical Description:
255 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM726 .I87 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A complex portrait of family continuity, "Kindling the Flame" moves forward and backward in time, honoring the author's parents and grandparents and celebrating her sons' transition from childhood to young adulthood--all the while illuminating the tensions the between secular and the holy.

Author Notes

Roberta Israeloff is a former contributing editor to "Parents".

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a powerful memoir, Israeloff (Lost and Found) recounts her return to the faith of her childhood. Disenchanted with the Judaism of her parents, Israeloff rejected her religion when she was young. Moving back and forth in time, Israeloff recalls the deep Jewish faith of her parents and grandparents and the lessons they taught her about the strength of faith and family traditions. Yet, from her grandmother she learned that Judaism was a religion of negation ("Don't write, don't run, don't eat that, don't eat too much"), and in ninth grade Israeloff declared to her father: "I'm not going to Friday night services anymore. It means nothing to me. I hate it." However, when she began a family of her own, Israeloff started to ask tentative questions about the place of the Jewish faith in her life. She admits, though, that her practice of Judaism after her marriage was more a concession to her parents than a deeply felt spiritual commitment. "For me to pursue synagogue membership seemed the height of hypocrisy. My sense of God, of spirituality, never jibed with anything I'd heard in any synagogue or from any rabbi." When she was confronted with planning her son's bar mitzvah, Israeloff launched into a re-engagement with the rituals and observances of her faith. Along the way, we are treated to Israeloff's conversations with books and people about the history of Jewish rituals as well as to her wry observations on notions of Jewish exclusivity. Israeloff's lyrical prose evokes moving images of a woman reconnecting to a world in which she once felt a stranger. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved