In the tradition of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture, journalist and bestselling author Sara Davidson met with Jewish Renewal leader and iconic rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi every Friday for two years to discuss the spiritual work people must undergo during the "December" or latter years of their lives. The result is The December Project: An Extraordinary Rabbi and Skeptical Seeker Take Aime at Our Greatest Mystery ($25.99).
Davidson was surprised to get a call from Reb Zalman asking her to engage with him in what he called, "The December Project." At 85, he wanted to teach people how to navigate the December of life and to help them "not freak out about dying." Although she has a seeker's heart and a skeptic's mind, Davidson jumped at the opportunity. For two years, she and the rabbi met to explore our greatest mystery. Interspersed with their talks are sketches from Reb Zalman's past. He barely escaped the Nazis, became an Orthodox rabbi in the U.S., was married four times and had eleven children, and formed friendships with leaders of other faiths, such as Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama. Breaking with the Orthodox, he founded the Jewish Renewal Movement to encourage people to have a direct experience of God.
During their time together, Davidson was nearly killed by a suicide bomb and Reb Zalman struggled with a steep decline in health. Together they created strategies to deal with pain and memory loss, and found tools to cultivate simplicity, fearlessness, and joy--at any age. Davidson includes twelve exercises in the book so that readers can experience what she did--making peace with our fear of dying so that we can live more fully today.
In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Sara Davidson was surprised by a call from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, asking her to engage with him in what he called "The December Project." At eighty-five, Reb Zalman wanted to teach people how to navigate the December of life and to help them "not freak out about dying."