A Rabbi's Faith Is Shaped By Grief

Feb 11, 2013

Rabbi Daniel Greyber
Credit rabbigreyber.com

Rabbi Daniel Greyber has dedicated his life to God, but it is not an unquestioning devotion. Rather, his belief has been shaped by losses that led him to question and consider his faith.

"Faith and religious commitment need to account for questions or challenges like death: the death of someone young, or the death of a close friend," he said in an interview with Shawn Wen, a producer for The State of Things. "I’m a different person and different rabbi for having gone through it."

Greyber has been at the pulpit of Beth El Synagogue in Durham, North Carolina since the summer of 2011, but in a new book "Faith Unravels: A Rabbi's Struggle with Grief and God," he discusses his life before coming to Durham.

Greyber writes about the two major deaths that marked his life: those of his childhood friend Jay and his family friend Joel.

Books on grieving practically constitute their own literary genre, but Greyber's memoir offers a rare glimpse into the process of mourning for a friend.

"Fewer people raise their children in communities where their parents and siblings are," Greyber said.  "You have families raising children not with the support of their biological family. Instead they form extended families with others. Joel was a brother for me."