“Are you happy because you are getting older or because you’ve found spiritual peace?”
Co-founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality Rabbi Sheila Weinberg offers intriguing answers to that question in Surprisingly Happy: An Atypical Religious Memoir. Snapshots of Rabbi Weinberg’s life, as told through poetry, prayers, and accounts of this Jewish Baby Boomer’s experiences, offer clues about her search to find God, and carves a path for others to learn from her journey. It addresses her spiritual quests through yoga and meditation, and provides a candid look at her struggles with addiction, her philosophy of feminism, and her life as a wife, mother and grandmother.
The book incorporates the author's eye witness accounts of many iconic events of her generation: the 1968 student protests at Columbia University; the challenges of the Peace Corps in Chile in the late 60s; the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the influence of Eastern practice on Western religion; the breakthrough of women into religious leadership; and the Feb. 15th, 2003 massive movement to stop the war in Iraq. Rabbi Weinberg also relates equally engaging anecdotes of less dramatic, yet impactful, rituals of everyday life: Senior prom, family, holidays, and a complex relationship with her mother.