Rabbi Charles Sherman: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Rabbi Charles Sherman

Rabbi at one of New York's largest synagogues and Author of The Broken and the Whole: Discovering Joy after Heartbreak, Lessons from a Life of Faith

As a young, ambitious rabbi at one of New York's largest synagogues, Rabbi Charles Sherman had high hopes for what his future would hold -- a happy and healthy family, and professional success. Then, early one morning in 1986, everything changed. His son Eyal spiked a fever and was soon in serious respiratory distress. Doctors discovered a lesion on the four-year-old's brain stem. Following high-risk surgery, Eyal suffered a catastrophic stroke. Sherman and his wife learned that their son would never walk, talk, feed himself or breathe on his own again -- yet his mind was entirely intact. He was still the curious, intelligent boy they had always loved. And Sherman, a theologian, with a distinguished education, was to begin to learn entirely new lessons about faith, survival, loyalty, friendship, and the imperative of hope.

Almost thirty years after his son took sick, Sherman reflects on his journey. He uses his personal experience to ponder questions many of us face. What does the refusal to abandon faith truly look like? To what lengths should parents go to protect their children? What does it mean to laugh after periods of long sadness? Is it possible to experience joy after heartbreak?

Sherman, the author of The Broken and the Whole: Discovering Joy after Heartbreak, Lessons from a Life of Faith (Scribner 2014), is able to tell his story in a way that affirms the remarkable resiliency of the human spirit. His presentation is punctuated with applause and laughter, as he draws universal lessons from both life's challenges and triumphs.

A man of profound faith and passion, Sherman educates, inspires and comforts through his lectures and writings. He has been a spiritual conscience and thoughtful leader for many searching for guidance and direction. He has been a staunch advocate for the disability community, in promoting legislative mandates, educational reform and a nurturing, inclusive environment for the “most vulnerable.”

"When times get really tough, the internal fortitude you need in the face of hardship sometimes becomes little more than stubbornness -- a flat-out refusal to surrender, " Sherman says. "Some years ago, I began talking publicly about our family story. I was somewhat surprised when people would come up to me afterward and say they related to my journey. And it wasn’t just people who had a sick or disabled child. It seems that, for all of us, at some point, something unexpected, unwanted comes into our lives. And we all need to find a way to live with it. We did not expect our marriage to crumble, we did not expect to lose a loved one in an accident, we did not expect to lose our job, we did not expect to lose our hearing, the list goes on. I call these the 'broken pieces' of our lives. Eyal’s stroke, and his many, many long hospital stays, the precariousness of his health all these years later, thrust me into a world that I couldn’t have imagined beforehand. It shook me to the core. It made me reexamine many of the beliefs that I had held all my life. My hope is that the strategies and coping skills I have learned and continue to learn can help others carry the broken pieces of their lives, with confidence, understanding and sometimes even joy.”


Interested in booking Rabbi Charles Sherman to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049
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  • "The Broken and the Whole: Discovering Joy After Heartbreak"
  • "Lessons from a Life of Faith"
  • There Are No Atheists in Intensive Care
  • The Imperative of Hope


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