TO FORGIVENESS AND JESUS:
Thirteen years ago, my writing a book with this title would have been unthinkable. My marriage of five years had just broken up, with much unresolved bitterness and hurt. I was a psychologist, but with no real faith in psychology. However, with no real faith in anything else, I could only continue in my profession. I was twenty-eight years old and had no idea where my life was going. Something was wrong, but I did not know what it was. If I had looked back over those twenty- eight years, however, I might have discerned a pattern that would have clarified my situation and the direction my life was about to take.
I grew up in a Jewish home in Brooklyn, and though my parents were not truly religious there was a strong awareness of our Jewish identity. Not surprisingly, then, I was sent to a Yeshivah -- a Hebrew parochial school -- for my elementary education. I did not like it at all. I had many friends and did well in my English subjects, but resented learning Hebrew. For the most part, I did very poorly in that area. My parents did not force me to remain, but by the time I realized how much I disliked it I was almost near the end. I decided to complete the eight grades and then go to a public high school. When I finally left the Yeshivah, I wanted nothing more to do with the Jewish religion. Despite these negative feelings, however, the eight years had given me a solid foundation in all aspects of Judaism. We had studied the Torah -- the first five books of the Old Testament -- three times, and the remaining books at least once. I was well versed in all aspects of Jewish religious and cultural life, and could even think in Hebrew, not to mention read, write, and speak it fluently. It was not for many years, though, that I would feel good about this education.
While a junior in high school, two developments occurred that shaped the course of my life. The first was discovering Freud. I had heard about psychoanalysis in school, and one day while in the psychology section of the library I picked up Calvin Hall's A Freudian Primer, a clear and succinct statement of basic psychoanalytic theory. Captivated by it, I quickly began to devour everything I could find on the subject. I read many of Freud's major works, as well as those of the neo-Freudians. How much of it I really understood I don't know, but I did know I wanted to become a psychologist. I never questioned this decision until I was midway through my doctoral studies.