The Jewish Pilgrimage - Book Review

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 27th, 2010

The Jewish Pilgrimage ? An Exploration of Reality, Mainly in Verse

The Jewish Pilgrimage by Geoffrey Hoffman is clearly written to inspire philosophical discussion. This book depicts the author?s personal journey to find some form of understanding about man, our various versions of God and how this effects society and the use of its knowledge. He debates moral issues and provokes deep thinking in several areas that will never leave my mind as I travel along my own road.

Geoffrey questions the justness of creation itself and the gift of consciousness. Also he cleverly uses metaphors when he depicts various pieces of himself by using the universe, planets and astrological colors. Without a doubt this student of life, takes joy in nature. Throughout the book the author makes his awe in the vastness of the universe quite apparent.

My personal favorite piece was Beautiful Among The Buildings, which used powerful visual statements like:
"Night sprawls among the broken lives that line the broken street;
The lonely and unpitied men whose waste is our defeat.
Men stagger from dank cellars; men, imprisoned in their cars,
Go roaring into sightlessness ? unmindful of the stars."

And the equally powerful anti-war piece, No Frontiers:
" The father carrying the limp body of his child,
The soldier staring at his amputated hand,
The little girl among the bloodied pieces of her parents ?
What does it matter if they are of one side or another?
Dogma cannot grieve.
It is the pain of individuals that sears."

I also really appreciated Half Sight, which discussed the inability to witness the good and love in life when there is so much horror to distract us from it. Today Near Watford Market was a very moving piece for me in that it was so visual. It describes an event where the author witnesses a man speaking to the public about his lack of belief in religion. And "circling like wolves, the true-believers snarled, snapping at both his arguments and him." Yet nearby an elderly women fell, sprawling her shopping items on the ground around her. The non-believer ran over to her side and helped her on her way, "jostling to her assistance through unmoving ranks of true-believing ice". It is a beautiful story about seeing God where you least expect it.

In the later part of the book, the author moves away from poetry and gets in to verse debating who the Jewish people are, what they are perceived as being and the persecution of this group of people through the ages. His interesting look at the holocaust does not dwell on the sorrow or loss of the people ? rather it centers on the people themselves.

By far, Jewish people are not the only race of people who have suffered at the hands of man and I think the author means to use the example as a tool to accelerate the intellectual growth of mankind.

ISBN#: 1-4137-7281-1
Author: Geoffrey Hoffman
Publisher: Publish America

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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