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Joy Comes in the Morning: A Novel
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Joy Comes in the Morning: A Novel

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  251 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Deborah Green is a woman of passionate contradictions--a rabbi who craves goodness and surety while wrestling with her own desires and with the sorrow and pain she sees around her. Her life changes when she visits the hospital room of Henry Friedman, an older man who has attempted suicide. His parents were murdered in the Holocaust when he was a child, and all his life he’ ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2004)
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The main character of this remarkable novel is a very theologically reflective female rabbi. If a book about a Christian clergy were this positively theological, it probably couldn't get published (though I guess the recent books by Elizabeth Strout & Haven Kimmel may belie this assumption). As with most good books about Jewish subjects, the Holocaust looms large in the background. This book is also another example of how good writers are treating the events of 9/11/2001 subtly rather than h ...more
It is amazing what serendipity does to expand my reading pleasure. This talking book was a shot in the dark and I really enjoyed it. I know very little about Jonathan Rosen, but this story of a contemporary woman rabbi has whet my appetite for more of his writing.

Rabbi Green has a pretty good life. She is confident in her abilities as a rabbi and she knows in her heart that God is with her. A chance encounter puts her in touch with Henry Friedman and his family. The story proceeds to tell us abo
Read for a discussion group, otherwise, I would never have looked at it.

There are no compelling characters here, just an casually interesting look at day to day life in a New York Jewish community.

These are the people described by the Apostle Paul in the first several chapters of his letter to the Romans.

The rabbi could be considered a "seeker" but the rest of the people are pretty much place keepers to keep her story moving. Written by a man, she is not a totally convincing character.
Deborah and Lev, and the other more minor characters, each struggle with their doubts (personal, spiritual) and examine their conflicted relationships to religion, faith, and family. While the material is important, his literary treatment is simplistic and heavy handed. The story is plodding and morose, not artistic or uplifting. The writing is laced with references to Jewish ritual practice, liturgy and custom that are accurate--evidence that Rosen is literate and well-versed in Jewish practice ...more
N.L. Riviezzo
It would seem that I should have liked this book. It should have been poignant and touching. Something should have stirred my soul. It wanted to but the those few moments got buried under a very slow paced story line, weak plot points and characters without depth. It was a sad read - not because of the story - due to the agony of trying to get through the endless parade of nothing that desperately wanted the next story turning point to be reachable.
Wow, another five-star book! I'm going to have to alter my self-image as a book-review curmudgeon, or stop reading books recommended by friends. (Who recommended this one? Whoever you are, thank you!)

This book hit me close to home, as it concerns a woman rabbi whose professional persona ricochets between providing deeply-appreciated and -valued pastoral services to her flock and deeply doubting her call. How I resonated to the scene where she is summoned to the hospital room of a child who has j
Beth Peninger
I picked this book up on a whim at the library. I'm so glad I did. Rosen has written a rich novel. It is rich in character, rich in story, rich in feeling. When I wasn't reading the book I was thinking about it and wondering what was going to happen next. I found myself thinking about the characters and relating to each of them on different levels. There are a few main characters of the book: Deborah, a female Reform Rabbi; Henry, an older gentleman who doesn't think much of life any longer; Hel ...more
A moving, thought-provoking novel with a well-drawn, credible female rabbi as a/the central character. I found Deborah and Henry to be compelling and engaging. (Not as connected to Lev.) A book about aging, growing up, being a Jew. Lovely. (Gotta say that the Reform Synagogue depicted seemed less real, and more caricatured than my experience.)
Victoria Weinstein
I loved the way Rosen captured the inner life of the clergy person in action; it was exciting to see many of my own experiences so well articulated. I also appreciated Rosen's ability to depict the mental state of a stroke sufferer, and I loved the character of Henry. Unfortunately, I never grew to like or care about the two "romantic leads," Deborah and Lev. I couldn't find either one of them attractive, probably because they were so lacking in humor and self-absorbed. I loved all of the theolo ...more
Rabbi Deborah Green meets Henry Friedman in the hospital, after his suicide attempt failed, then later in a nursing home, when he is recovering from a stroke. She strikes up a friendship with his son, Lev, who is a science writer with little faith. Lev is shaken by his father's suicide attempt, and is drawn to Deborah's confidence in her faith. The story goes into great detail about their doubts and their attempts to feel closer to God, but still has a light-hearted aspect. Their physical attrac ...more
Jenny Brown
The writing in this story is so seamless that I was engaged even when the plot stretched my patience a bit. The story focuses on a Reform female rabbi and the man she becomes involved with, however, it is much more than that. The man's father had a stroke and seems to struggle with coming to terms with his feelings about Judaism against the devastation of having lost his family in the Holocaust. The man's best friend had a schizophrenic breakdown. The rabbi's family isn't as religious as she is ...more
absorbing novel of the life of a young woman rabbi in New York City, filled with deep insight into the nuances and challenges of life as clergy. Loved this book!
Daughters Of Abraham
This novel is one of very few that show the daily life of American Jews thoughts and actions. Many of the characters are not observant, but are deeply Jewish. This is a strong point for dicussion!
It is the story of a contemporary female rabbi who falls in love. Her religious, emotional, and intellectual yearnings and embroilments are at the center of the story. The story is about tensions and resolutions between and among Jews about observance. It sparked many questions and much conversation.

Read for retreat in 2007
I loved the honest portrayal of a young rabbi in New York who is questioning her faith because of that feeling that we all have of going through the motions without meaning or purpose. However, the novel was very slow in many sections. The overall plot of her relationship with the son of a dying man who Deborah visits in the hospital was not especially captivating to me. My favorite line was from that dying father, Henry, who quotes Philo, "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battl ...more
Kris Jones
predictable. could not even feel much for the characters due to the way it was written.
This is a book for a devotions class, otherwise I probably would not have known of it. I did learn much about Jewish tradition but I thought the story was thin.
Great book. Female rabbi falls in love with the son of a man she cares for as a hospital chaplain. The father is a Holucaust survivor who has suffered a stroke and has attempted suicide.
The story is a study in belief and family; the son becomes his father's caretaker as the relationship between him and the rabbi progresses. Particularly heart-rending passages of the daily care of father as his health fails. Wonderful writing and engaging story.
Really close up look at the personality and thought processes of a young female Reformed Jewish rabbi. As a father of daughters, as a man, as a husband, and as a Jew, I really found it interesting on many fronts. Great, believable characters and interesting family interactions

"I don't know when I have enjoyed a book this much. He starts the story a bit oddly and it took me about 50 pages to decide if I like his style, but then I was hooked. There is something for everyone: faith, end of life questions, and of course, love.
This is a book that I can read over and's not a very complicated story, but it's a great journey that I like taking. That, and I love the quote that the book is named after ("Darkness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning").
I enjoyed how the author brought Judaism into the everyday life of his characters. There are so many ways to be a Jew, and this book explored some of them. It made me think about how we deal with faith, doubt, science, and the past.
Callie Souther
I know, that as a future female-Reform-Rabbi-to-be I'm supposed to be all about this book. But I'm not. If you do read it, know that not all of us are like her. Plus the story was a little trite. But I suppose it had its moments.
I liked the language in this book as well as the characters; all very real and believable. Also, it shines a light on various issues within the Jewish faith that one questions along the way. An easy read that invites to think.
Liked this a lot, though I wasn't sure I was going to. It ended up being a very complete story and I felt like I finished a spiritual journey, with the main characters, by the end.
Oct 07, 2007 Lin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: owned
A pleasant read. I read this for a course on Jewish American fiction, and I have to admit I don't remember it too well, but I remember liking to read it.
The story of a woman Reform rabbi and the family of a Holocaust survivor living in New York prior to 9/11. Rosen writes in an emotionally vivid way.
I really enjoyed this book! It made me laugh out loud. While it wasn't exactly deep, it was thoughtfully written and had likeable characters.
Enjoyable look at family within the Jewish faith - and those who are still seeking to understand it
Sheesh. I can barely remember the book. Why didn't it leave a dent on me? I am not soulless.
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