In the summer of 1978, Bracha Goetz – a Harvard graduate who had just completed her first year of medical school – flew to Israel for a six week working stint at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. After two weeks, she had left medicine and was studying orthodox Judaism full-time in a women’s seminary. I met Bracha in the summer of ’85, living in a trailer in a West Bank settlement, managing four young children and already a prolific author of children’s books. Having had no contact for close to 40 years, we spoke recently; about her views on spirituality, Judaism, the ethics of West Bank settlements and the particularly challenging period in Israel today. And no, she did not return to Medical School. One of the most moving – and entertaining – parts of our conversation is when she relives that phone call; when she told her mother and father that she was changing her life course. Very dramatically. And not returning to America. Bracha’s wild ride in life – especially with spirituality and Judaism – is particularly interesting to hear and contemplate in these days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
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