Catherine Brekus introduces us to a disturbing, heartbreaking and improbably inspiring life. Sarah Osborn’s early years were an unending series of afflictions made worse by the austere Calvinism of her family and church. Born in England in 1714, Sarah emigrated to America with her parents, who settled in Rhode Island.
What came first, the chicken of belief or the egg of ritual? And how do they relate to each other? This is a central question posed by Arnold Eisen in his absorbing and wide-ranging account of contemporary Jewish practice. The transformation of that practice resulted from two events sparked by the French Revolution: the Enlightenment and the emancipation of the Jews.