From one of our country’s most prominent rabbis, an inspiring book about the power of community based on one of her most impactful sermons.
In a time of loneliness and isolation, social rupture and alienation, what will it take to mend our broken hearts and rebuild our society?
Sharon Brous—a leading American rabbi—makes the case that the spiritual work of our time, as instinctual as it is counter-cultural, is to find our way to one other in celebration, in sorrow, and in solidarity. To show up for each other in moments of joy and pain, vulnerability and possibility, to invest in relationships of shared purpose and build communities of care.
Brous contends that it is through honoring our most basic human instinct-- the yearning for real connection-- that we reawaken our shared humanity and begin to heal. This kind of sacred presence is captured by the word amen, a powerful ancient idea that we affirm the fullness of one another’s experience by demonstrating, in body and word: “I see you. You are not alone.”
An acclaimed preacher and story-teller, Brous pairs heart-driven anecdotes from her experience building and pastoring to a leading-edge faith community over the past two decades with ancient Jewish wisdom and contemporary science. The result is a clarion call: the sense of belonging engendered by our genuine presence is not only a social and biological need, but a moral and spiritual necessity.
With original insights and practical tools, The Amen Effect translates foundational ideas into simple practices that connect us to our better angels, offering a blueprint for a more meaningful life and a more connected and caring world.
About the Author
Sharon Brous is the founding and senior rabbi of IKAR, a trail-blazing Jewish community based in Los Angeles. A leading voice at the intersection of faith and justice in America, she has been named #1 Most Influential Rabbi in the U.S. by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. She blessed both President Obama and President Biden at their National Inaugural Prayer Services, and her TED Talk “Reclaiming Religion” has been viewed 1.5 million times. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. She lives with her husband, David Light, and their children in California.
“Rabbi Brous shares remarkable compassion, insight, and moral vision in these pages that illuminate a way forward at a time when the fog of fear and anger in the world grows ever dense. This wonderful book is welcome, affirming, and urgently needed.” —Bryan Stevenson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Just Mercy
“Sharon Brous is one of the most visionary, beloved rabbis in the U.S. today. What a joy to welcome this book into the world.” —Krista Tippett, New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Wise
“Sharon Brous has drawn deep from the wells of her spiritual tradition to help quench the thirst of people facing the wilderness of loneliness and injustice today. . . . We all need this wisdom.” —Bishop William J. Barber II, founding director of Yale’s Center for Public Theology and Public Policy and president of Repairers of the Breach
“Sharon Brous has a rare gift for bringing people together, and her words are a welcome reminder of our common humanity.” —Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and Hidden Potential
“Sharon Brous has crafted a profound and poetic reminder that the remedy for a fractured world is human connection. The Amen Effect is a powerful call for each of us to show up for others, see them fully, and hold them close.” —Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Regret
“Through her warmth and wit, Rabbi Sharon Brous charts a path through the darkness, giving readers a sense of hope, healing, and human connection, so that we can find meaning in a world that feels frightening and chaotic.” —Reza Aslan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
“Rabbi Brous teaches us how to find hope on every page of this moving and critically important book, but if you read closely you will also find love, faith, and courage.” —Mayim Bialik, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Girling Up
“Brilliant, tender, and wise, The Amen Effect is a must-read guide for how to be brave with grief, find one another in the dark, and reclaim our joy.” —Valarie Kaur, author of See No Stranger
“With both wisdom and gentleness, Rabbi Sharon Brous gives us all a way to move beyond fears about the survival of institutions to an intentional embracing of our connections with one another. Deeply moved by stories drawn from ancient texts and personal accounts, and questions that get to the heart of my own experience, I find myself saying, ‘Amen . . . and thank you!’” —Bishop Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Churchand author of Love Is the Way
“I’ve already made a list in my head of friends and family I want to share this book with—I’m so taken by its wisdom and way of framing how we can reach out to one another, how we can live with joy and pain at the same time. What a thrill it is to be able to access Rabbi Brous’s ideas and wisdom in these chapters at any moment!” —Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
“This book is saturated with a lifetime of wisdom and love. If you’re one of the millions of people who do not have a wise rabbi, pastor, priest, imam, or other source of deep wisdom in your life—or even if you do—. . . then borrow Rabbi Sharon Brous for a few hours and let her speak to you through this beautiful book. You’ll read of birth and death, sorrow and joy, grief and delight . . . and you will finish this book knowing that a wise rabbi has spoken to your deepest heart.” —Brian D. McLaren, author of Faith After Doubt