Expecting Miracles and Finding Spirituality in Pregnancy

January 22, 2015

By Tuly Wiesz

Though I have obviously never been pregnant myself, I have had the blessed opportunity of going through the miraculous process alongside my incredible wife four times in the last decade. For some expectant parents, it is the physical changes that are the focus of pregnancy – the nausea, the aches and pains, late night ice cream cravings and ah, those fun hormonal changes.9657108519

But for many righteous women, pregnancy is a precious opportunity for an enhanced spiritual connection with God, a topic beautifully elaborated upon by Chana Weisberg in the book Expecting Miracles: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Pregnancy Through Judaism.

During her first two pregnancies, Weisberg found a lack of spiritual literature relating to pregnancy so she set out to fill the void with Expecting Miracles. Bursting with personal stories of Godly women who used their pregnancies as an opportunity to reflect, the book connects women to God and grow spiritually.

Weisberg shares the intimate details of her own spiritual journey from Indonesia to Jerusalem, from a secular life to a deeply religious one. However, the book focuses on interviews with 24 mothers living in Jerusalem. These women include mothers, midwives and educators – each with their own personal experience and take-home message.

As one expecting mother put it, “I felt very fulfilled during pregnancy. Even if I wasn’t doing anything else in the world, just walking around with this baby inside of me gave me a lot of confidence. I felt full of self-worth.”

Expecting Miracles is arranged by topic and deals with many big issues that couples face during pregnancy including the work-life balance, birth control, family planning, large families and prenatal screening. Read the rest of this entry »


A Review of Kaddish, Women’s Voices

February 19, 2014

by Nathan RosenkaddishWomensVoicesWeb2

This excellent collection consists of fifty-two insightful essays addressing the various experiences and issues faced by women mourners who recite Kaddish. The book is very helpful and thought provoking for individual mourners and for the Jewish community as a whole. The contributors come from a wide range of Jewish denominations, backgrounds, religious involvement and education. The writers share their viewpoints and reveal their courage in confronting difficult situations. All testify to the ways in which reciting Kaddish invoked deep spiritual and meaningful experiences. Several of the essays portray the warm presence of community support and solace and the establishment or affirmation of their involvement with Jewish communal life. For them, the recitation of Kaddish indeed served to sanctify God’s name. Others portray synagogues and minyanim where the opposite occurred. At a time where community is most needed, the mourners were set adrift and even faced outright hostility and ostracism. There, the communal response reflected a lack of respect for the dead, the wounding of the mourner and a desecration of God’s name.

This book is well worth purchasing and reading. The essays reflect individual and common experiences and issues that may be unique to women or may be shared by all mourners. Readers will find that many essays speak directly to them on many levels.

This review first appeared in AJL Reviews