What does it take to write a book on Jewish spiritual paths like Journeys to a Jewish Life? Perseverance, an ear for drama, and a dose of humility. There's nothing like documenting the religious ups and downs and the struggles and triumphs of 60 other people to focus awareness on one's own unfinished

Raised secular in the Midwest and Northeast of the United States, I began practicing Judaism as an adult, some 20 years ago.  A decade ago, I left the Chicago area, where I was born and first dipped my toes into Jewish life, for Washington, D.C., where two years as a staff writer for B’nai B’rith International exposed me to the vibrant Jewish communal field. I followed that with a seven-year run as news editor of the Washington Jewish Week. There I tracked politicos and community heroes, breaking news and social trends just below the wave tips of the headlines. At BBI and then twice at WJW, my stories won Simon Rockower Awards from the American Jewish Press Association.

During this time, it dawned on me that many of the people now most involved in Jewish life—from rabbis to professionals, and lay leaders to committed congregants—hadn't begun that way. Their meandering roads to liberal Judaism seemed a story worth telling. And I was blessed in finding scores of people across the country—women and men, young and old, from many points on the Jewish spectrum—who were eager to share their spiritual odysseys. 

As I write in the book’s introduction, “No two people take the same journey—each unfolds at a different rhythm, with a singular set of twists and turns, valleys and peaks. Yet the telling of each story can ease the steps of those who follow.” We learn from other travelers on the way to resilience, hope, and wisdom. May Journeys to a Jewish Life illuminate your own winding road, as the making of it has lit mine.