HALF THE HOUSE
My Life In and Out of Jerusalem
By Rachel Berghash
“A beautiful, deeply stirring memoir about breaking away from Jerusalem, and also about discovering Jerusalem...written with the eye of a poet, the insight of a psychologist, and a heart of wisdom.” —Jonathan Rosen, author of "The Talmud and the Internet"
“Evocative and engaging...a woman's odyssey to accommodate the spiritual mysteries of her birthplace (Jerusalem) and the intellectual freedoms of her adopted city (New York). Rachel Berghash shows how, in a life long struggle to be faithful to both, she made them one." —Clinton Bailey, author of "Bedouin Poetry from Sinai and the Negev"
“A deep affirmation of the human condition expressed with sensitivity and care...a beautiful book, at once spiritual and down to earth.” —Michael Eigen, author of "Contact with the Depths," "The Sensitive Self," and "Madness and Murder"
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Rachel Berghash’s lyrical, impressionistic memoir charts her relationship with her homeland during a lifelong journey of self-discovery. Beginning with a child’s-eye view of the wonders of the majestic Jerusalem she is born into, Berghash explores the city’s sacred mysteries, her family’s religious orthodoxy, and the underlying kinship between Israelis and Palestinians.
At eighteen, she serves in the Israeli army, later attends the Rubin Academy of Music, and works as a secretary at the Israeli Parliament and The Jerusalem Post. When she marries an American artist, she moves to New York City and raises a family. Living outside the homeland she loves and having abandoned her adherence to religious strictures, she shuttles between her original and adopted countries. Touching on issues of emigration, exile, family, and reawakening to religion, Half the House shows how Berghash builds a new house of the spirit, drawing on the foundation of her past while embracing her life’s new possibilities.
Rachel Berghash is a prolific poet and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry and translations appear in numerous literary magazines. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Yeshiva University and is a longtime teacher of Interior Life seminars that use key philosophical, psychological, and religious texts. Her essays in this area, with co-author Katherine Jillson, have been published in Tikkun, the Journal of Religion and Health, and elsewhere. In the 1980s, Berghash produced a series for radio that featured interviews with prominent poets. Transcripts of these have appeared in the Partisan Review and the American Poetry Review, and in essay collections from the University of Michigan Press.
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