“Why I am Grateful for Well-Read Mom” by Missy Christensen

Janel LewandowskiYear of the Contemplative

Well-Read Mom member Missy Christensen contacted us after the recent shooting at Tree of Life, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Pittsburg, to share how she was impacted in a new way because of her experience with Well-Read Mom.

As a busy homeschool mom of six, who would rather read a classic novel than about current events, I wanted to ignore the headlines about the latest mass shooting. I didn’t want to know the reasons, the details, the victims. But then I kept seeing Pittsburgh as I scrolled through the newsfeeds.


Pittsburgh, with its cobblestone roads, its trolley cars, its grass-filled parks, its majestic libraries. I came to intimately know Pittsburgh while reading Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood. Pittsburgh had its Scot Irish part of town, its black part of town, and, no doubt it had its Jewish part of town.

Pittsburgh had been wounded.

So, I clicked.

And then I wept.

I wept with my new friend, Asher Lev, who at the tender age of six had already been impacted by the accusations that his people crucified Christ. Asher showed me how marginalized Jews really feel in our country and in our world. I became aware of what a close-knit community they have. I began to realize the struggles the Jewish people go through, just to practice their faith. The shootings in Pittsburgh exemplified the prejudices his people have felt for hundreds of generations. And I felt their pain.

I am so grateful for Well-Read Mom, and well-written books, like Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev. Books help us to relate to the world around us. Already, the ‘Year of the Contemplative’ has been a gift to me. A gift that has opened my eyes so that I can pray for all those affected by the shooting, instead of overlooking the gruesome news. Sadly, as I write this, another mass shooting has taken place in California, but right away I pray, “Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord, and let Your perpetual light shine upon them.” Please pray with me.

We always love to hear from our members about how our hearts and minds are touched by our reading together. Submissions are welcome at submissions@wellreadmom.com. Find out more at www.wellreadmom.com.

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