Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer and a Good Book - Oregon Jewish Life

Mensch Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman (HCI; April 2, 2019) 240 pages; $14.95. The book speaks to character and what it takes to turn humanity around by being human. Rabbi Hammerman draws lessons from how the Hindu god of dance and how the Sabbath anchors the workweek, why A.A. Milne inspired his “The Torah of Pooh,” how the diverse cast in a high school production of “Fiddler on the Roof” forced him to challenge his own views on intermarriage, and the temptation of the forbidden Oreo. Being a mensch means seeking justice tempered with compassion, understanding our human connection, serving a higher cause and living with dignity and integrity. In a time when every measure of civility is being overturned, being a mensch may be the only measure of character that truly matters. “If by sharing what I’ve learned, I can add a modicum of generosity, honesty and human connection in a world overflowing with cruelty, loneliness and deceit, then I’ll have done my job,” says Rabbi Hammerman.