The Schmooze

The Jewish Message

Earlier this week, Tom Fields-Meyer wrote about reading and thinking about books and took a look at autism and God. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite, courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


Not long ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at an event to benefit my children’s summer camp. In the midst of a lovely discussion, the rabbi who runs the camp offered a question: “What’s your book’s Jewish message?”

I stammered and stumbled a bit before I came up with an answer. But afterwards, I kept thinking about the question. I tend to come up with much more articulate responses the next morning, on my jog, than on the spot. (That’s why I’m a writer and not, say, a White House spokesman.)

Following Ezra tells the story of raising our middle son for the decade from his autism diagnosis at age three through the day of his one-of-a-kind bar mitzvah. It’s loaded with Jewish content: there’s the awkward, hilarious conversation he had with a neighbor on the walk to synagogue one Shabbat; there’s the wonderful conversation when Ezra learned about the Eighth Commandment (the hard way); and of course there’s the last chapter, detailing the days surrounding my son’s bar mitzvah celebration.

But what’s the Jewish message?

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The Jewish Message

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