Levy, Naomi. Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul. Flatiron, 2017. ISBN 978-1250057266 352 pp. $
When Rabbi Naomi Levy–one of the first women to graduate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in NY–comes across a letter Einstein wrote in response to a grieving rabbi upon the death of his eldest son at age eleven, she spends what feels like three years searching for the original letter that Robert S. Marcus wrote to the notable scientist. Throughout her search, she relays the story of Marcus, who was a military Jewish chaplain through WWII and liberated nearly 1,000 boys from the concentration camp at Buchenwald at the end of the war.
The book follows Levy’s own loss of her father at a young age, follows up on the staff and some of the Polish and Hungarian children who came through a Jewish orphanage in France, including Elie Weisel.
Levy’s journey reflects on meditation, music, and prayer; friendship, love and forgiveness; parenting, finding your path, meeting and listening to your soul. Through narrative and parable, she recounts life lessons and concludes each chapter with a blessing that is part mantra and part intention. She touches on several stories shared in Why Judaism Matters, and while I find both books compelling, if I could only have one, it’s Levy’s that I will return to as life moves along.