The following is based on a true story, though facts have been fudged for faster reading, romantic effect, and to protect the innocent.

Rabbi Boruch Cohen was born on a snow- blown night near the end of 1960, while five colored Chanukah candles burned on the kitchen counter of his family’s American Dream house in a pretty little town in the suburbs west of Boston.

But it took almost twenty- eight years until he saw the light.

In the meantime, he attended public schools (nothing short of Kafkaesque) and a small liberal arts university (bachelor’s degree in philosophy), then pursued a career in writing, first as a journalist, later as an aspiring fiction writer. Hebrew school at a temple named Beth had ended years earlier, after he’d cashed his last bar mitzvah check. But at age twenty- seven, his inner world opened like a flip phone (pardon the anachronism), when he unexpectedly met a Chassidic rabbi — his first exposure to meaningful Judaism — and the warm alluring light of Jewish mystical wisdom, not to mention the irresistible appeal of donning a rakish black hat.

Within months, he left one of the country’s most prestigious fiction writing graduate programs to learn Torah full time in rabbinical college. In 1994, after six years of intensive study, he became a rabbi and, together with his wife, Ita Leah, settled in an assimilated neighborhood in search of the precious souls and holy sparks that can only be found through dedicated Jewish outreach. The essays collected in this book were written during those twenty- five- odd years.

The couple now lives in Oak Park, Michigan. They have four sons and two daughters.

To arrange a book- reading or writing workshop with Rabbi Cohen, please contact him at

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