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Book Review: Blessings and Baby Steps: The Spiritual path of Parenthood

Monday, 25 July 2011

Courtesy: Behrman House

Full Disclosure:

  • I have known the author, Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat, for the past few years, including the time we served together on the Board of Rabbis of Southern California.
  • I have been meaning to write a book about Jewish parenting.

When I was asked to review Rabbi Grinblatt’s book, my initial reaction was: aw, man…I was supposed to have written that book.

How is that for transparency?

I was determined to put aside my feelings of jealousy, as well as personal feelings for the author, and approach the book with as close to perfect objectivity as I might muster. [Did I succeed?]

Blessings and Baby Steps: The Spiritual Path of Parenthood is not a parenting manual. Unlike other “Jewish parenting” titles currently available, one does not come away from this collection of vignettes with a prescription for making one’s parenting journey more spiritual. What Rabbi Grinblat shares with us is her very personal parenting journey and weaves Torah around and through these experiences, revealing a lush tapestry where the (seemingly) ordinary and sacred intersect.

So expertly does Rabbi Grinblat tap into the rich vault of Rabbinic literature and intersperse it into each chapter, that this book is poised to give new insights into familiar texts, as well as introduce the reader to new ones. Not surprising, given that this is Rabbi Grinblat’s area of expertise. In addition to teaching Midrash at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles), she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Rabbinic literature at UCLA. The mixture of textual knowledge and practical experience comes together in a natural and unassuming voice. One that is filled with awe at the meanings that can be gleaned along the path of parenthood.

[As for the jealousy, it soon abated. Once I’d read this book, it became clear that the right rabbi wrote it.]


One lucky reader will win a copy of Blessings and Baby Steps: The Spiritual Path of Parenthood, courtesy of Behrman House!!

What part of parenting has been (or you imagine might be) of particular spiritual importance to you?

Leave your response by 12:00am PDT on Thursday, 28 July, 2011. Winner to be announced later that day…b’li neder.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, 26 July 2011 3:25 pm

    An interesting looking book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

  2. Wednesday, 27 July 2011 12:33 am

    For me, parenting has been about being honest about my faults, which middos I need to improve, and doing serious work to improve them! Also, about learning that I need to get more sleep than I think I need. But mainly about self-improvement.

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