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Sarah Hurwitz Speaks on Her New Book

Sunday, September 15, 2019 15 Elul 5779

7:00 PM - 9:00 PMSanctuary & Social Hall

Renowned political speechwriter Sarah Hurwitz returns to Isaiah to discuss her new book: Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life – in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There). Sarah Hurwitz was head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, after serving as speechwriter for President Barack Obama and chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign. She is, not surprisingly, a very engaging speaker!

She has surprised herself by writing a book about Judaism. She was the quintessential uninvolved Reform Jew – until, at age 36, she happened upon an introductory class on Judaism. She was blown away by what she found: beautiful rituals, helpful guidance on living an ethical life, conceptions of God beyond the judgy bearded man in the sky — none of which she had learned in Hebrew School.
Hurwitz visited rabbis, attended Jewish meditation retreats, sat at Shabbat tables, and read hundreds of books about Judaism — all in dogged pursuit of answers to her biggest questions. What she found transformed her life, and she wondered: how could there be such a gap between the richness of what Judaism offers and the way so many Jews like her understand and experience it?

What did Hurwitz—young, whip-smart, sophisticated, and politically active—find in Judaism? In her talk and her book, she attempts to show us why Judaism matters and how its message is more relevant than ever. She encourages us to do the learning, questioning, and debating to make Judaism our own.

Refreshments will be served, and books will be available for purchase. We hope to follow up on her talk with a series of small discussion groups in the fall; stay tuned for details.

Sarah Hurwitz grew up in a family affiliated with a Reform congregation here in the Boston area and like many, became disconnected from Jewish living and Jewish life in her early teens. In recent years, while serving as chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, Sarah rediscovered Judaism and awakened her Jewish identity in a way she had not previously experienced. She has written a book about that experience, in the hope of reaching others who are or who have been similarly disconnected from Jewish life and bringing them closer to its richness and meaning.

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