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Here All Along

Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life - in Judaism (After Finally Choosing to Look There)
Narrated by: Sarah Hurwitz
Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins

Non-member price: $39.01

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Publisher's Summary

A renowned political speechwriter rediscovers Judaism, finding timeless wisdom and spiritual connection in its age-old practices and traditions.

“Sarah Hurwitz was Michelle Obama’s head speechwriter, and with this book she becomes Judaism’s speechwriter." (Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Give and Take and Originals, and co-author of Option B)

After a decade as a political speechwriter - serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, and chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton on her 2008 presidential campaign - Sarah Hurwitz decided to apply her skills as a communicator to writing a book...about Judaism. And no one is more surprised than she is.

Hurwitz was the quintessential lapsed Jew - until, at age 36, after a tough breakup, she happened upon an advertisement for an introductory class on Judaism. She attended on a whim but was blown away by what she found: beautiful rituals, helpful guidance on living an ethical life, conceptions of God beyond the judgy bearded man in the sky - none of which she had learned in Hebrew school or during the two synagogue services she grudgingly attended each year. That class led to a years-long journey during which Hurwitz visited the offices of rabbis, attended Jewish meditation retreats, sat at the Shabbat tables of Orthodox families, and read hundreds of books about Judaism - all in dogged pursuit of answers to her biggest questions. What she found transformed her life, and she wondered: How could there be such a gap between the richness of what Judaism offers and the way so many Jews like her understand and experience it?

Sarah Hurwitz is on a mission to close this gap by sharing the profound insights she discovered on everything from Jewish holidays, ethics, and prayer to Jewish conceptions of God, death, and social justice. In this entertaining and accessible book, she shows us why Judaism matters and how its message is more relevant than ever, and she inspires Jews to do the learning, questioning, and debating required to make this religion their own.

"Searching for meaning in the ancient scripture and traditions of Judaism, Sarah Hurwitz takes us along on an enriching journey of discovery. In Here All Along, she explores her birthright as a Jew and finds timeless and valuable life lessons." (David Axelrod, director of the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and former senior advisor to President Barack Obama)

©2019 Sarah Hurwitz (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Sarah Hurwitz writes beautifully about her journey from Hebrew school dropout to thoughtful commentator on her heritage. She shows how this system of thought, founded in the time of shepherds, can be surprisingly relevant to modern life, with wisdom on such contemporary topics as mindfulness, gratitude, work/life balance, and politics. I recommend this book to all, no matter where you lie on the religious spectrum." (A. J. Jacobs, New York Times best-selling co-author of The Year of Living Biblically)

"Here All Along is exactly the introduction to Judaism that smart, thoughtful readers need: Not a how-to guide to these incredibly rich and relevant traditions, but a why-to guide that illuminates - boldly, bravely, and beautifully - why Judaism matters and how its wisdom can transform us. It's been here all along, but now it's here in the book in your hands, waiting for you. Open it, and discover what you've been missing." (Dara Horn, author of Eternal Life)

“What an achievement - to have found a way to make every aspect of Judaism utterly accessible, digestible, and emotional all at once, in one riveting volume. This is an uncanny primer for anyone wanting to understand Judaism, and also a revealing portrait of one famous speechwriter who couldn’t believe what she’d been missing all along." (Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew)

"Repeatedly drawing on her life experiences, Sarah Hurwitz paints a vision of a Judaism that is wise, intellectually rigorous, experiential, accessible - and, frankly, exciting. Even when I disagree with her, she invites me into her world. This is a book we have been waiting for, and Hurwitz is an important new voice on the Jewish scene." (Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Words That Hurt, Words That Heal and Jewish Literacy)

What listeners say about Here All Along

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  • Danielle Nathanson
  • 14-09-2019

Must-read for prospective and new Jewish converts

Loved every minute of listening to this. My husband (born Jewish) and I (JBC) have been getting into deep Jewish discussion since the birth of our first child. I've often had trouble verbalizing my feelings about the religion, but Hurwitz hits the nail on the head, bringing my feelings to life through her thoughtful and entertaining observation and practice of Judaism.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-01-2020

wonderful exploration of Judaism

well written, well researched love of the basics of Judaism-practice, history, concepts, and spiritual connections.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria C Harris
  • 01-01-2020

Relatable, Informative, Understandable.

I felt as if I was listening to my own early experiences with Judaism. I had been searching for my own deeper understanding of the role of Judaism in my life and found a kindred spirit who had the courage to "do the work" and then the grace to share her journey with all of us. I will listen to this again and use it as a stepping stone to further my own understanding of the role Judaism plays in my life. Sarah helps us to understand so much about our heritage and history. she has truly done a mitzvah by writing this book. I look forward to hearing her voice in the future.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Avi
  • 31-12-2019

Nothing short of brilliant

Having been raised in, and involved with Orthodox Judaism all my life, I am amazed at the insights and appreciation this book has given me, at times bringing me to tears. The perspectives Ms Hurwitz has brought to the table are simultaneously old as well as new, universal as well as personal. It is a love letter to Judaism, regardless of the stream one does or doesn't belong to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carriel Danz
  • 27-12-2019

Solid!

Great job. Follow up regarding marriage and family? Love the storytelling woven in-very Jewish way to teach

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  • Mishella Bella
  • 19-05-2020

Brilliantly written and narrated!

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am very glad I got this book!! It's absolutely beautiful!!

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  • Judith A Golden
  • 16-04-2020

Personal. Meaningful. Helpful.

Enjoyed this very much. I have been on a similar search and encountered some of the same gifted teachers. Beautiful balance between information and personal experience.

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  • Rebecca Graham
  • 24-03-2020

Loved the second half!

first half was slow, but I loved the second half! this is a book about a Jewish person discovering Judaism for herself, & the author / first-person narrator is a former Michelle Obama speechwriter. I think that I enjoyed the second half owing to its focus on applying Jewish beliefs & practices to daily life. would recommend!