Orthodox Judaism in America Comes of Age: My Life and Times
by Rabbi Joseph Karasik
Hardcover, 232 pages
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Rabbi Karasick, a former president of the Orthodox Union, is both a front-row witness and contributor to the flourishing of Orthodox Judaism in America. Rabbi Karasick was at the forefront of a group of dedicated and talented individuals who helped turn the tide toward the survival of Orthodox Judaism, and his memoir brings this crucial period in American Jewish history to life.
Thirteen Steps contains more than a description of Rabbi Karasick’s trajectory of leadership and communal involvement in the Jewish organizational world. Woven into the narrative are the strands of a complete and well-rounded life: the saga of Rabbi Karasick’s illustrious family history and the challenges and rewards of his formative years, the adventure of his wife Pepa’s family’s incredible survival of the Holocaust, the raising of an Orthodox family in twentieth-century New York, anecdotes of travel, all come together with the record of his communal dedication to describe a wholeness of existence truly greater than the sum of its parts.
A natural leader, eloquent speaker, erudite rabbinic scholar, and successful businessman, Rabbi Karasick was active in a host of Jewish organizations and institutions and quickly rose to the presidency of the OU. Included as an integral part of his life story are his descriptions of interactions with such prominent personalities as Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Elie Wiesel, Nahum Goldmann, Baron Alain de Rothschild, and many others.
Thirteen Steps is a chronicle of a remarkable individual and is an exceptional window on a formative era in Jewish history, when Orthodoxy in America, on both a communal and a personal level, was coming of age.