To submit your “Books that made a difference” entry, mouse over “Contact” and select “Books that made a difference” from the drop-down menu.. Submissions will be posted online and selected entries will appear in the AJP Rosh Hashanah issue on Sept. 3.
The book that changed my life: “This is My God” by Herman Wouk.
It was a turbulent time for everyone in 1971. The country was in the middle of the Viet Nam War and it seemed everyone was searching for a change, a new direction and I certainly was no exception. As a first generation American, one of 17 children of an Irish Catholic Iowa hog farm family, I was a new mother, struggling with the rigors of cancer treatments, and trying to keep up with college studies. In true 1970s flower power fashion I was looking for the meaning of what felt like a life on the spin cycle. I had been raised in the pre-Vatican II ritual of the Catholic Church, attended 12 years of parochial school, religion was and remains a large part of my everyday life, but now the modernization of “The Church” created by Vatican II seemed lacking. Searching I studied many religions; Judaism was not one of them. However following a long conversation about my search with a dear friend, who was not Jewish, he presented me with a book that he had just read and literally said” this is what you are looking for.” The book change everything about my life. It was as if finally I had found home, a place that I felt a connection to. I began studying Judaism on my own and then spent three years in study with an orthodox Rabbi and his wife, and converted to Judaism. When someone learns that I am a Jew by choice I am often asked what made me chose Judaism. I always tell them it was a book, a book called “This Is My God”; I highly recommend it to all, long time Jews and/or those who are seeking.