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Celebrating Life: Finding Happiness in Unexpected Places

Finding Happiness in Unexpected Places

Following the painful loss of his father, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks began to learn how to celebrate life in a new way. He discovered where happiness lives, often in unexpected places, through family, community, friendship and responsibilities. He also found it through a renewed relationship with God who speaks to our deepest needs.

Drawn, in part, from his columns in The Times newspaper, Celebrating Life is for people of all faiths and none. It shows us how to be more human and, in becoming so, how we can touch the Divine.


British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has an extraordinary way with words–poetical, philosophical, magical, intensely personal and exquisitely inspirational. His latest book, Celebrating Life: Finding Happiness in Unexpected Places is a joyous discovery of the power of prayer, the majesty of faith, the landscape of beauty, the meaning of happiness, the glory of God, and, above all, the gift of life–which, he says, is nothing more than “being ourselves.” Making a blessing over life, writes the Chief Rabbi, is the best way of turning life into a blessing. God often chooses circuitous routes, “but it helps to know that where we are, here, now, is where we need to be.” And, quoting the 19th-century philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore, he adds: “We are worth what we are willing to share with others… Happiness is not made by what we own: it is what we share.” Shot through with humility, humour and hope, this book is itself an act of sharing. Each of the 50-odd essays–the summation of Rabbi Sacks’s own tests and tribulations–provides a rich and rewarding read to anyone with five minutes or so to spare, particularly (though not exclusively) in the throes of a fraught and frustrating day. The intimate, and often courageous, reflections of one of this country’s most respected religious leaders, they constitute a powerful antidote to despair and depression, a path to happiness and peace, and a recognition, in the Chief Rabbi’s words, that “life is beautiful if we open our eyes.” – Meir Persoff