About the Book
Dreaming Against the Current is Haviva Ner-David’s spiritual, psychological, and emotional journey from Orthodox Jewish feminist activist to post-denominational inter-spiritual rabbi/minister.
The journey begins with Haviva’s religious crisis as a rabbi in Israel during the summer of “Operation Protective Edge” (the Israeli operation in Gaza in 2014), and ends with her interfaith-interspiritual ordination and certification as a spiritual companion, at Riverside Church in NYC. But it also begins with a restrictive childhood growing up in an Orthodox Jewish home in suburban New York, and ends with her skinny dipping on Yom Kippur morning.
Interwoven with her highly personal and profound dream interpretation, Haviva takes us on a deep exploration of her path toward claiming her inner free spirit that had been trying to make herself heard since childhood. She battles anorexia as a teenager; spends years struggling to be ordained as an Orthodox rabbi; dares to evolve while remaining a committed life partner; adopts a child when she already has plenty of biological children; moves to politically complex and highly segregated Israel and raises seven children there with no extended family support. All while living with a degenerative genetic muscular disorder.
Haviva learns that healing our sacred wounds and believing in unconditional universal Divine Love (for ourselves and others) are the most challenging yet the most vital keys to owning and celebrating our most essential and authentic selves.
Dreaming Against the Current will resonate with people searching for their own unique spiritual and general life paths, whether raised in more traditional religious environments and seeking less traditional ways to listen to their souls, or not.
“What happens to a groundbreaker when the ground keeps on breaking? In this memoir, Rabbi Rev. Haviva Ner-David powerfully chronicles her struggle to be accepted as a rabbi and scholar within the Orthodox movement, and her eventual discovery that Orthodox Judaism doesn’t fit her any longer. Along the way, she shares the love story of her marriage, her struggle with chronic illness, her path as an interfaith minister, and her pain over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Throughout the fabric of the book, Ner-David weaves in the bright thread of her dreamwork practice, showing how, over time, her dreams tell her the truth of her life and reveal her path forward. A must-read for anyone who has changed more than they expected—or anyone who wants to learn how dreams can open the door to a new life.” — Rabbi Jill Hammer, Ph.D, author of Undertorah: An Earth-Based Kabbalah of Dreams
“How did a nice Jewish girl from the Orthodox New York suburbs become a post-denominational interspiritual rabbi minister? By following her heart step-by-fascinating-step through the difficult work of being human. In Dreaming Against the Current, Haviva Ner-David invites readers to gently brush away the excuses and justifications that keep them from living fully. Throughout the pages, she models how to gaze lovingly at our disappointments, missteps, and lingering heartbreaks to seek the healing lessons these outcast moments can offer. Weaving together religion, spirituality, and personal introspection, Ner-David creates a glorious tapestry that inspires each of us to become the artisan of a meaningful and sacred life.” — Rev. Sarah Bowen, author of Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective and Higher Purpose
“Reverend Rabbi Haviva Ner David blesses us with her third and most powerful memoir yet. Her journey from a healing woman of Judaism to a healing woman of all of humanity brings with it stunning insights, aching moments of clarity, and a glimpse of what it means to live a life of freedom. Haviva is one of the most honest, compassionate, and caring writers, and demonstrates what it means to live with authenticity and loyalty to oneself and the universal spirit. The story, threaded between lofty dreams and the mundane of everyday existence is a wonderful teaching about life.” — Elana Sztokman, Ph.D, author of Conversations with my Body: Essays on My Life as a Jewish Woman
“Haviva’s beautifully-written Dreaming Against the Current is a glorious interplay of daily living, dreams, and powerful spiritual realizations. As such, it has called me to a deeper level of trust, surrender, and authenticity in my own life and spiritual practice. In learning more about Rabbi Reverend Ner-David’s devout practices and the depth of being they have developed in her, I am inspired. I suspect this book will extend such a gift to all its readers.” — Rev. AnnE O’Neil, author of If You Want the Rainbow, Welcome the Rain