I frequently jest that “I don’t believe in G-d and G-d is okay with that.” It is a sentiment that I take my Judaism to heart, and I wrestle with G-d because that is my duty. Yisrael, as in the Children of Yisrael (Israel), means “struggles with G-d”. Yakov, son of Isaac, was given the name Yisrael after a night of wrestling with an angel (Genesis 32: 25 – 29).
I have deep appreciation for questions that seek to challenge our beliefs, for the multitude of answers from the various factions of Judaism, and for the efforts to go the extra mile in order to make something meaningful. Each of these threads plays an important role in the way my personal Judaism thrives, even when I do not agree with the practices and values I see around me.
As I look around the Jewish world, I embrace the moments that offer a new viewpoint to ponder, that lure my innermost voice to the surface, and that permit me to think about Judaism in what might be considered unexplored territory.
Judaism and the exploration of all it has to offer is an adventure. And, speaking of adventure – have you heard of The Adventure Rabbi, Rabbi Jamie Korngold? She makes her home in Boulder, Colorado – the center of adventure – and helps others to find G-d and Judaism in nature.
I read The God Upgrade: Finding Your 21st-Century Spirituality in Judaism’s 5000-Year Old Tradition flipping through 800+ pages on my iPhone. Typically, I buy hard copies of books I’m going to read because I like to write in them. I highlight passages that speak to me, and I write notes when I’m inspired by the author’s thoughts. Let’s just say there are not many pages without bright yellow highlights.
Rabbi Jamie Korngold does not take G-d or Judaism for granted. She has explored both to their depths and transformed them into something that works for her, her family, and her community. She is not afraid to ask the questions that are difficult to ask and seldom answered (or even seldom asked, for that matter). Rabbi Korngold encourages her readers not to fear the pursuit of answers and to continue pursuing to the point of contentment.
The Adventure Rabbi transforms Judaism into an exhilarating journey. She brings the contradictions of G-d, tradition, and halacha (Jewish law) front and center. She goes beyond wanting to bring more energy into the practice of Judaism; she wants to inspire belief.
Belief in what is up to the reader. Rabbi Korngold’s inspiration comes from being a part of something much greater than oneself, of following traditions that have been followed by our ancestors long before us, and from connecting to Judaism in a manner that is meaningful and relevant to her and her family.
She encourages her readers to go within and discover but to look around (in nature) and be inspired.
I love her voice. She writes as though you are sitting in the room with her, taking part in one of her soul-searching retreats. Rabbi Korngold speaks authentically, humorously, and passionately. You will be entertained, relieved, inspired, and encouraged while reading this book.
While some may say this book is not for the rigidly observant among us, I believe that anyone who is willing to open their mind and accept others where they are, can find something worthwhile in The God Upgrade.
My thoughts about this book are more numerous than the yellow highlights I made while reading it, and I feel like I have hardly told you anything about it. If you have struggled with your faith, if you feel disconnected with G-d or with the Jewish religion, if you are not afraid to explore and delve into your thoughts about Judaism – this is a book I recommend you read.
I bought this book and read it while on an extended stay in Boulder, Colorado where Rabbi Jamie Korngold resides. I have yet to meet The Adventure Rabbi.
You can purchase this book at Amazon: