So Compassionate it Hurts
My Life as a Rabbi on the Spectrum
by Tzemah Yoreh
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Pub Date 08 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 02 Dec 2022
Rabbi Dr. Tzemah Yoreh is one of the intellectual leaders of Jewish humanism and the head of the City Congregation in New York City -- and he is autistic. There are very few church and community leaders who are open about being on the spectrum. But Rabbi Dr. Yoreh believes that everyone -- even neuro-atypical people -- can use their unique gifts to greatly impact the world
In his new memoir, So Compassionate it Hurts: My Life as a Rabbi on the Spectrum, Rabbi Dr. Yoreh writes candidly about his experiences as a neurodivergent religious leader, and the challenges and triumphs that brings. Based on his widely read article, ‘A Rabbi on the Spectrum‘ published on The Hill.com, So Compassionate it Hurts shows readers that neurotypical people can thrive in unexpected jobs and career paths, and share their gifts with the world, if only given the opportunity
From the Prologue
I am a congregational rabbi on the autism spectrum.
How is that possible? How can I thrive in a profession that is pastoral, that rewards extroversion, that seems mostly for those who intuitively grasp social dynamics? I can’t understand my closest family members most of the time, let alone a room full of people whom I know only peripherally. And yet I have thrived.
That is because, along with the deficits of being on the spectrum, there are precious gifts that being neuro-atypical bequeath me.
But, to be honest, it took me a while to find them.
Tzemah Yoreh is one of the intellectual leaders of Jewish humanism and the head of the City Congregation in New York city. He attended the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he obtained his Ph.D. in biblical criticism in 2004. He earned a second Ph.D. in Ancient Wisdom Literature from the University of Toronto for the joy of studying ancient text.
Tzemah is a prolific writer and his work includes the Humanist Prayer Omnibus, which re-imagines prayer as a catalyst for human-driven change rather than communication with a deity, and his series on the stories of the Bible, Kernel to Canon. He is perhaps best known for his theories on why Abraham killed Isaac, featured in The Times of Israel and thetorah.com.
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