Arts and Culture | High Holidays

Books that made a difference — Rebecca Kunsberg

Rebecca Kunsberg

A friend loaned me “The History of Love,” by Nicole Krauss, and it sat on my night stand for two months. I was in grad school at the time, and didn’t have time to read a book for leisure. I finally had time between semesters, and to this day, just thinking about Leo Gurtsky and his pining for a lost love, Alma, hurts my heart.

I was moved to tears reading Leo’s description of meeting the love of his life in Poland, surviving the Holocaust with dreams of reuniting with Alma, and never quite fulfilling that dream. He misses many opportunities to lead a fulfilling life and struggles to remain relevant in the world of the living.

From this, I think about all of the incredible people I’ve met and learned from, many during fleeting moments such as traveling abroad, meeting people walking their dogs in a park, or chatting with people embarking on far-flung adventures from the Tucson airport. But it is one person that I’ve met who will have a lasting impact on me, someone I will know for the rest of my life.

When I finally got around to reading this book, I was just starting a new relationship. Now, I think about how I could have never met the love of my life, the man I’m about to start a new chapter with, and how my destiny would have been altered. I think about Leo’s struggle to connect with life, one that could have been the same for me.

Rebecca Kunsberg is leadership development and public relations director at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.