The Lilac Tree by Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch
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A Rabbi’s Reflections on Love, Courage, and History
Applying Jewish values to our personal and communal lives.
Ammiel Hirsch has been one of America’s leading rabbis for more than three decades. A Zionist activist who spent his formative years in Israel, Hirsch rose to prominence as the executive director of the Association of Reform Zionists of America and then as the spiritual leader of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
The Lilac Tree offers stirring reflections on life and death, science and faith, political activism and deep learning, and history and the future. Hirsch grapples with the harsh realities of COVID-19, anti-Semitism, and America in the wake of the Trump presidency. We travel with him to the ruins of Ancient Greece and Rome, the site of Auschwitz, and a hotel in Basel where Theodor Herzl dreamed of a Jewish state—all seen through his incisive, witty, and eminently Jewish lens.
Moving easily between the day-to-day and the sublime, The Lilac Tree draws upon Hirsch’s wealth of Jewish and general wisdom to present a comprehensive worldview that is both eternal in its scope and acutely relevant, even urgent, for our own lives.
Year first published: 2023