I thought I’d use today’s platform to share a passage from Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You. You might know the movie better (major disappointment), but the book is a true literary gem. It’s a thrill to read, brutally honest, laugh-out-loud funny, and manages to be both wildly inappropriate and heartbreakingly sentimental. I recommend it.
The story centers around a dysfunctional Jewish family coming together for their father’s funeral, and this passage describing the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer (starting with “My siblings…” and ending with “…more than I expected”) really struck a chord with me. As you may already know, Brian and I are taking an Intro to Reform Judaism class with the intent that I will someday convert. As I struggle to pick up bits and pieces of guttural Hebrew, I couldn’t help but chuckle at Tropper’s use of the word “gibberish,” while also appreciating the importance of tradition and community that he so perfectly captured in but a few sentences.
I’m not one to obsess or overanalyze the written word, in fact I have some pretty painful middle-school book reports to prove it, and yet I’ve found myself turning to that same passage several times in the last month. First, because my dear Nainai passed away this time last year, again when I wanted to comfort a friend who lost his own grandmother, and more recently when I needed something to point to when I was asked why I wanted to convert. What can I say? Tropper moved me.
Jewish, soon-to-be-Jewish or not, I hope you’re able to find similar meaning and comfort from his expertly crafted words.
P.S. Now that I’ve recommended a book, I’d love other suggestions if you want to return the favor. Thanks!