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The Hunter’s Search - A Book Review

The Pater – My Father, My Judaism, My Childlessness

by Elliot Jager

189 pages, Toby Press 2015 $24.95

Reviewed by Pnina Moed Kass 

This unusual memoir burrows into the background of a writer and journalist, not the progression of his career but rather his life as a child abandoned by his father, raised by a mother trying to overcome difficult circumstances and his later life as a husband but not a father.

Much of that life has been spent within the strict borders of Orthodox Judaism and more than two decades of Jager's life has been spent in Israel.

To add scope and multiple dimensions to this personal investigation of a Jewish married man without children, the memoirist introduces the reader to other men, due to a variety of reasons, in the same situation.

These sharp vignettes present us with the many circumstances in the lives of men who are childless – some will startle us, some will arouse our sympathy, some may even elude our complete understanding.

In German, the word "jaeger" means hunter and indeed Elliot Jager's story is a hunt for inner understanding and acceptance.

His hunt is an unrelenting journey through the land of psychotherapy, medical intervention, and an almost endless search within the dictates and philosophy of Judaism.

Though a dedicated hunter, he does not pursue his prey with anger or bitterness and in the end it is this balance of intellectual and personal inquiry that makes The Pater an intriguing read. 



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Monday, 17 June 2024

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