Sally Srok Friedes lived in Larchmont for several years. Little did she know then that that time would be one of the most important in her life. It was in Larchmont that she had her second child and made friendships to last a lifetime. And it was at Larchmont Temple that she converted to Judaism.
The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion is Ms. Friedes’ book about her transformation from a lapsed Catholic to a committed Jew.
While Ms. Friedes discovered Judaism through her Manhattanite inlaws, she embraced her new religion at Larchmont Temple. Under the tutelage of Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman and in the community at Larchmont Temple, Ms. Friedes found her spiritual home.
The New Jew offers descriptions of Westchester, including Manor Park, Post Road and Mamaroneck. Readers become immersed in the idyllic life Ms. Friedes experienced in Larchmont.
Before coming to Larchmont, the road to Judaism was rocky.
When Sally Srok married an upper class Jewish man in Manhattan, she thought that allowing her future children to be raised as Jews was going the extra mile.
She knew her Jewish mother-in-law, Bernice Friedes, had a vision of the “nice Jewish girl” that her only son would marry someday – and Sally Srok didn’t fit the mold.
Yet the two women connected. Sally loved Bernice, in part because her mother-in-law never made her feel like an outsider. So when Bernice asked Sally to join the family for High Holy Day services – how could Sally refuse?
Soon, Ms. Friedes began to try to uncover the mystery of Judaism for herself – only to be left confused, disappointed and alienated at the many doors that were closed to her.
Shortly, she decided she wanted nothing to do with Judaism.
So no one was more surprised than the author when she began to discover the spirituality of Judaism and ultimately embraced the religion for herself.
The New Jew: An Unexpected Conversion (O-Books Publishing) is the spiritual chronology of a ten-year journey of conversion to Judaism for the author, told with humor, candor, and warmth.
The book received enthusiastic praise from Larchmont author and columnist Andi Rosenthal, who also writes about her conversion to Judaism. ”Sally has created a gem of a book,” wrote Ms. Rosenthal. [Ms. Friedes] brings her readers through an enlightening journey of an open and loving heart, a deeply inquisitive mind, and a relentlessly seeking soul..”
Ms. Friedes has spoken about her conversion at temples on both coasts. She has written for parenting publications, appeared on television, hosted satellite tours, and worked as a panelist on a radio program.