Koby Mandell was just thirteen-years-old
on May 8, 2001, when he and his friend Yosef cut school to go hiking. Their bodies were
found the next day. The boys had been brutally stoned to death in a cave in the heart of
the Judean desert. The extreme cruelty of this act of terror shocked the world. How does a
family cope with the loss of a child through such horror?
Koby's mother Sherri has penned this absorbing, deeply painful and yet strangely beautiful
account of her loss, sharing her thoughts and emotions as she moves through the first stages
of mourning. Struggling to find a way to carry on, she embarks on a journey of discovery and
growing faith as she endeavors to understand her pain in the context of 3,000 years of Jewish
history and tradition. The Blessing of a Broken Heart is at once heartbreaking and life-affirming, shot through with immense pain and yet also with immense beauty and courage. Sherri's determination to choose hope and faith over despair and hate are humbling and moving, and her journey towards light and healing is an inspiration.
About the Author
SHERRI MANDELL was born in New York and graduated from Colorado State University, where
she received her M.A. in creative writing. She taught writing at the University of Maryland
and at Penn State. She is the author of Writers of the Holocaust, (Facts on File, 2000) and has written for numerous magazines and journals, including The Washington Post, Denver Post and The Jerusalem Post. She moved to Israel in 1996, where she lives in Tekoa with her family, and is now director of The Koby Mandell Foundation Women's Healing Retreats for Bereaved Mothers and Widows.
The Critics Praise
"With remarkable self-awareness, Sherri Mandell guides us through the
abyss, and shows the way out. She describes the precise point where the
human ability to cope falters and the wisdom of the soul prevails. There is
great strength here - in the observations of her own grieving and healing
process, in the writing and most of all in her surprisingly deepening faith.
Like Mandell, you will emerge from this encounter broken and more whole.
An urgent, devastating and yes, wonderful, book."
- Yossi Klein Halevi, Israel correspondent, The New Republic
"Out of the worst nightmare of every parent, the cold-blooded and brutal murder
of a beautiful child, comes a book that will touch the lives of all who read it
with its honesty, its faith, and its compassion. Sherri Mandell not only has the gift of words, she has the soul of a great poet. In a deeply personal and almost painfully honest way, she manages to bring light to the darkest corners of human experience, turning her personal tragedy into an important meditation on what it means to continue to live and love and
bless God after the inexplicable horror of such a loss. The Blessing of a Broken heart is the rarest of books; the kind no reader can enter without leaving changed for the better. It is a book that truly blesses its readers. - Naomi Ragen
The Critics Praise:
"Sherri Mandell's wrenching, soulful and beautiful book is more than
an act of remembrance. It is an act of grace."
- John Podhoretz
"A spiritual journey of faith, hope and redemption. Each page is mystical and beautiful, written with profound emotion and deep sincerity. From the depths of darkness
comes this uplifting poem of life. It is a must read for everyone."
- Faye Kellerman
"It's a very moving book - it will accompany you for a long time."
- Aharon Appelfeld
"Powerful and impassioned, uplifting and devastating both, Sherri Mandell's breathtaking prose takes the reader to the depths of pain and to faith's pinnacle. The Blessing of a Broken Heart is the ultimate testament of a woman's love for her son, for her country, and for God. Readers will never forget it."
- Michael Oren
"Of all the spiritual memoirs written about the healing power of love, this is one of the best and most relevant for our times...This is a stellar memoir, speaking to the ever-constant challenge to cultivate love."