My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength,
Refuge, and Belonging
Rachel Naomi Remen
When author Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom) was young she was caught between two different views of life: a rabbi grandfather and his sense of the holy nature of the world and her highly academic, research-oriented parents, who believed that religion was the "opiate of the masses." As Remen gravitated toward academics and serving the world as a medical doctor, her grandfather became an "island of mysticism in a vast sea of science." But over time, Remen discovered that two seemingly divergent paths could lead to the same destination, especially as she eventually learned to blend her spiritual beliefs with her medical treatment. Remen uses the heartrending stories of her patients to teach readers how to follow in her example, that is, combining a life of service with a life of receiving and giving blessings (a combination that avoids common problems such as burnout, self-sacrifice, and navel-gazing). Remen also includes numerous personal stories of her rabbi grandfather who showered the world with his mystical beliefs and wizened blessings. While this story-by-story structure is similar to the bestselling Kitchen Table Wisdom, it is still a tear-wrenching and utterly satisfying formula.