The day after Ari Goldman celebrated his fiftieth birthday his father died of a heart attack, and Goldman began the ritual year of mourning required by Jewish law. There were the obligations (the daily recitation of kaddish in a synagogue quorum of ten), the prohibitions (no listening to music or buying new clothes), and the self-examination that the death of a parent and the mourning rituals triggered. Death meant coming to terms with a father he loved but never fully understood, in part because of his parents' divorce and its stormy aftermath.
Goldman explores the emotional and spiritual aspects of spending a year in mourning, as he examines its effects on him as a husband, father, and member of his community. Left without parents (his mother died four years earlier), he is no longer a son to anyone, but he comes to understand that through the daily recitation of kaddish, he can both connect with and honor his mother and his father in a way that he could not always do during their lifetimes. And in his daily synagogue attendance usually near his Manhattan home but also during the course of his travels in Israel, the Catskills, and France he finds his fellow worshipers to be an unexpected source of strength, wisdom, and comfort.
Living a Year of Kaddish is a deeply affecting journey through grief, loss, and acceptance a book that will resonate for people who struggle with the inevitability of losing the ones they love.