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Life is Just a Piece of Kugel: From Delaware to Everywhere, One Man's Spirtual Journey Paperback – February 11, 2015

by Mr. Steven J Hyatt (Author)

Like many Jewish men in America today, I can vaguely remember my Great Grandfather going to Shul, conducting Passover Seders and putting on Teffilin in the morning. Sadly, he is the last member of my family to perform these Mitzvahs with any consistency. If you are anything like me, you have always felt uncomfortable in the Synagogue because you didn’t understand what was going on or where they were in the service and you were also embarrassed at your poor ability to read Hebrew. You know you fall into this category if your heart pounded for the hours and minutes leading up to the time you might be called to the Bimah for an Aliyah. You’d sit in the back of the Shul practicing the blessings, begging Hashem NOT to pick you, because you’d be embarrassed. As a 43 year old male I was more familiar with the latest information about potential life on Mars than I was with my own people, customs and prayers. My defenses caused me to be critical of those who followed “Ritual” rather than admire their knowledge and commitment. I’d wonder out loud how they could take the time to put on Teffilin every morning, or “waste” a Saturday in Shul, or pass on an opportunity to eat an extra-large shrimp or spare rib. It was easier to be critical rather than ask myself why I didn’t follow their example. However, when I was alone contemplating life, I always felt something was missing. In my heart I knew I wanted to know what was going on during the service, I wanted to know how to put on Teffilin, I wanted to say Kiddush on Shabbos, I wanted to see the shrimp cocktail on the menu and ask for a dinner salad instead. I wanted my great Grandfather to be proud of me. I wanted to be proud of me. I knew what I wanted, but like any scary journey I was reluctant to take the first step. Like most people I was afraid. Afraid that I would look stupid or worse yet, I wouldn’t be good or smart enough. Faced with answers I might not like, I had rejected the unknown rather than embrace it as an opportunity. And then one day a "pizza box" was delivered to my office, and the rest as they say, was history. This is my journey. I wish you well on yours. L'Chaim! 

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