Kaddish by Leon Wieseltier
When Leon Wieseltier's father died in March 1996, he began to observe the rituals of the traditional year of mourning, going daily to the synagogue to recite the kaddish. Between his prayers and his everyday responsibilities, he sought out ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish texts in pursuit of the kaddish's history and meaning. And every day he studied, translated, and wrote his own reflections on the obscure texts that he found, punctuating his journal with stories about life in his synagogue and about his family's progress through grief. In reflecting upon the fate of his father and of his people, he wrestles with problems of loss and faith, the meaning of tradition, freedom and determinism, and the perplexity of rational religion.