Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World

Hardcover | March 29, 2016

bySusan Silverman

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Susan Silverman grew up with parents who were, both before and after a devastating loss, atheists. Yet, as a young adult, she shocked everyone who knew her (“But you were elected Class Flirt in high school!”) and became a rabbi. What was not surprising, however, was that she built her own big, unwieldy family through both birth and adoption, something she had intended from childhood. With three daughters and two sons (“We produce girls and import boys”), this unique family becomes a metaphor for the world’s contradictions and complexities—a microcosm of the tragedy and joy, hope and despair, cruelty and compassion, predictability and absurdity of this world we all live in. A meditation on identity, faith, and belonging—one that's as funny as it is moving—Casting Lots will resonate with anyone who has struggled to find their place in the world and to understand the significance of that place.

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From the Publisher

Susan Silverman grew up with parents who were, both before and after a devastating loss, atheists. Yet, as a young adult, she shocked everyone who knew her (“But you were elected Class Flirt in high school!”) and became a rabbi. What was not surprising, however, was that she built her own big, unwieldy family through both birth and ad...

Susan Silverman is a writer, activist and speaker. She has written for and appeared in The Forward, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, The Jerusalem Post, The New York Post, Al Jazeera, and CNN, among others. She speaks on social justice issues, including partnering with her sister, comedian Sar...

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Paperback|Jan 1 2001

$104.76 online$111.95list price(save 6%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:March 29, 2016Publisher:Da Capo PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0306824612

ISBN - 13:9780306824616

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Editorial Reviews

Praise for Casting LotsKirkus Reviews, 1/1/16“A book rich in understanding and humor[Silverman] meditates on what it means to live as a broken being in a beautifully imperfect world. Warm and spiritually engaging.”Publishers Weekly, 1/4/16“Though the title may sound solemn, Silverman’s writing is anything but; like her sister, comedian Sarah Silverman, the author has a keen sense of humor and embellishes her narrative with laughsDevoted to family, faith, and her partnership with God, Silverman paints an honest portrait of an imperfect but loving household. Readers of many traditions will enjoy Silverman’s tender adoption story.”Nia Vardalos, author of the New York Times bestseller Instant Mom“A hilarious and touching story! If you’ve ever pondered your purpose on this tiny planet, you’ll love this guide to living a happy life of beautiful chaos, all according to the plan.”Mayim Bialik, actress, author of Mayim’s Vegan Table and Beyond the Sling“A funny and inspiring story of one family's journey from love to yet more love. Beautifully told!”Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock and The Underdogs“Casting Lots is a fearless wise-cracking rabble-rousing American woman's tale of how, against all odds, flanked by comedians, she ended up a rabbi. Given her nutty background, of course she's irreverent, but this funny big-hearted rabbi is reverent where it counts the most: toward Heaven, toward Judaism, and toward her family. The book brims with sudden turns and surprising tenderness, mayhem and tears, love and laughter.”Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout“This is a beautiful, deeply touching book—one to use as a guide in how to turn our fears and anxieties into kindness and generosity, and tell a joke or two while we’re at it.”Julius Lester, author of Lovesong: Becoming a Jew“Casting Lots is about so many things but most of all it is a book about love in all its messiness, chaos, neediness, confusion, and, ultimately glory. It is also a very funny book, proving that younger sister Sarah Silverman is not the only one in the family with a wicked sense of humor. It is a book of ruthless honesty about a family that is far from perfect, disorganization is the norm, and parenting skills could use some improvement. But nothing of that really matters where the love is as fierce as it is here. This is more than a book. It is an incredible experience.”New York Jewish Week, 2/19/16“Silverman is an outspoken advocate for adoption.”New York Post, 3/26/16“Silverman makes the case that international adoption, which has dropped off dramatically in recent years—from 45,000 in 2004 to 7,200 in 2013—needs to be more feasible.”Jewish Book Council, 3/29/16“[An] enchanting memoir by writer, activist, reform rabbi, and mother Susan Silverman about discovering her own inner strength and indomitable will to give shape to her random world, to weave a solid construct of her and her family’s lives where there might have been none...Silverman’s efforts to better the world by creating a family, and not settling for one that was thrown her way in a lottery is an inspiring read that gives hope to those who believe that loving kindness can be a way of life.”Manchester Union Leader, 4/17/16 “A memoir that blends spirituality, pathos, humor and wisdom.”Neshamah Center, 4/3/16“An excellent bookA celebration of familySusan shares the trials and tribulations of raising five kids with the self-deprecating humor and wit of Anne Lamott...The book is very honest, almost like a reality TV showEverything is told with love and humorYou don’t have to be a parent or interested in adoption to enjoy this book. It’s a compelling read.”Boston Globe, 4/26/16“Rabbi Susan Silverman matches her sister’s sharp wit, foul mouth, and incongruously soft heart[An] intimate, quirky memoirA story of sensitivity and love.”Jewish Woman International, Spring 2016“CompellingThis is a memoir written with passion and humor by someone who wants to improve the world. [Silverman] writes with openness and curiosity, telling a story that is both spiritual and practical.”Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/15/16“Irreverent and witty, but also achingly honest and touching in unexpected ways. This is not your typical adoption memoir.”Jewish Journal, 6/9/16“An endearing and inspiring accountSilverman is a natural storytellerCasting Lots is, among other things, an act of courage. Silverman is brutally honest about herself, her family and her faith. She wants to inspire her readers, but she never fails to remind them that parenting requires not only love but, perhaps even more importantly, patience, strength, compassion and determination, all qualities that’s she possesses and seeks to share.”Southern Jewish Life, June 2016“In Casting Lots, Susan Silverman in the friend you ‘get’ and even when she over-shares a little, you ‘get’ that part tooWhile the entire book is enlightening, particularly compelling are the author’s notes on adoption topics including cost, corruption, cultural heritage and colonialism.”Canadian Jewish News, 8/5/16“A moving bookThe decision to adopt and the process involved are presented in a humorous and self-deprecating styleRabbi Silverman’s passion is inspiring.”