Book Review by Rabbi Gill Student
This article was featured in Jewish Action Fall 2016.
Rabbi Dovid Cohen is too young to write his memoirs. His book We’re Almost There: Living With Patience, Perseverance and Purpose uses reflections on his own life as a mirror to the challenges facing American Orthodox Jews today. He was a successful lawyer but, sadly, had trouble finding his match. Life as a single professional in New York comes with a unique set of doubts and fears. In a whirlwind story that features a pushy Israeli taxi driver, Rabbi Cohen finally finds his bashert. Then he and his wife have a special needs child, a challenge with its own joys and fears as they adjust their life to help their wonderful child succeed. Through his bachelorhood, marriage and fatherhood, along with a career change from law to the rabbinate, Rabbi Cohen, who currently serves as OU regional director of synagogues for Manhattan, Bronx, Westchester and Connecticut as well as director of community outreach for Yachad, offers a window into his emotions.
This is a very personal story, not just biographical but psychological and emotional—including the thoughts and feelings that accompany, and sometimes overwhelm, the author throughout his journey. Life is about relationships. When Rabbi Cohen is faced with a new challenge, such as speaking about a school shooting, he thinks about the emotions of his audience and relates to their concerns. As a rabbi in Manhattan, he perceives quite a bit of affluence and concern with status. But he also sees the kindness and charity, the honest desire to be good people. Rabbi Cohen’s messages throughout the book relate to the personal growth and experiences that we all encounter, and would do well to think about in more depth.