Ani Tuzman has written a rare novel in which her love, both of the subject and of the act of writing, is palpably present. Perhaps this is what has allowed her to bring to birth a new Baal Shem Tov, appropriate to the twenty-first century.
Arthur Green, Neo-Hasidic teacher and rector, Hebrew College Rabbinical School
Ani Tuzman’s lovely, heartfelt prose draws us into a tale filled with mystery and power, evoking a lost world and introducing us to one of the truly great mystics of the Western world. A beautiful book.
Sally Kempton, teacher of yoga philosophy and author of Awakening Shakti and Meditation for the Love of It
“Ani Tuzman beautifully describes as much of an inner as an outer landscape: Podolia of the eighteenth century with its wagon carts, peddlers’ stalls, and social struggles, but equally the human heart in all its sadness, grief, longing, and hope—and most of all in its capacity to know and be healed by love. This is a magical, almost mythic tale of the power of love, truth, and compassion to heal the human spirit. Told with a twenty-first-century woman’s sensitivity and insight regarding the power of human relationship and communication, it centers around the character of the Baal Shem Tov, and weaves a network of coming-of-age narratives. The Tremble of Love presents a world where death, loss, tragedy, accident, and disease are never far away, but also where the human capacity to hold and heal are almost always nearer than imagined—because God, who is Love, is also astonishingly nearer than imagined.”
Rabbi Nancy Flam, cofounder of the National Center for Jewish Healing, founding director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality
“Introducing readers to vivid characters and suggestive settings, Tuzman evokes the sweet intimacies and harsh tribulations of eighteenth-century village life in Poland. The emotional and family lives of those she depicts, many of whose descendants perished in the Holocaust, are, at once, distant and familiar: people driven apart by intolerance and false beliefs, creating then, as now, unending harm. The message of the Baal Shem Tov―ecstatic seeker, compassionate healer, mediator, mystical teacher, and peacemaker―is as needed today as it was in his lifetime: our capacity to love and care for the other is the path to lasting peace and harmony. A book full of life and passion, so needed in our world today.”
Dr. Paula Green, founder and senior advisor, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
“Ani Tuzman’s novel has touched deep places in my heart, as I experienced the presence of children as holy teachers, the honoring of the longing of girls and women to learn, of widows not to be discarded by society, and of the poor to be regarded with genuine respect. The compassion of the Baal Shem Tov is as palpable as the herbs he uses to heal, the sheep’s wool with which he wipes down prayer benches, and the warm rolls he receives from the hands of a young child. As he leads men, women, and children to drink from the inner well of love, we readers are led to our own inner wellsprings. The Tremble of Love is a book that nourishes the spirit―a book for people of all faiths―as well as for those who have lost faith.
Father Gilbert Aranha, Executive Secretary for the Bishops’ Conference for Ecumenism and founder of JPK House of Love (Prema Nilaya), Mysore, India
The Tremble of Love is a profound and stirring novel. It had me in tears often. Ani Tuzman’s elegant prose tells a story of universal spiritual and human truths. It is set in the context of 18th century Poland’s vulnerable Jewish community. Great religious revival is born amidst the suffering of that community led by the Baal Shem Tov, a man portrayed as an authentic hero who communicates and celebrates empowering love, joy and wisdom. This book is a delight to read as well as a reflection on religious history. Even more so, it reminds us of how true spiritual resources can be cultivated and communicated in our own vulnerable time.
Tuzman has integrated her deep spiritual work with her holocaust lineage in the most profound way, illuminating Jewish history and the social political and spiritual transformations needed for our planet in these times of peril. “
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, creator of the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program and author of Surprisingly Happy: An Atypical Jewish Memoir
This work is destined for greatness, in the holiest sense of the word.
Reverend Carlos Anderson, founder of One Life School Ministry & New Genesis Foundation
The Tremble of Love is an invitation into the heart. A luscious, sweeping novel, it is rooted in the truth of history, yet pulsating with contemporary vision and informed by timeless spiritual truths: God is love, prayer is more than words or adherence to texts, self-compassion is a doorway to God’s grace, and God is always with us as a source of love.
Tuzman’s novel brings us into the inner worlds of her characters— their doubts and fears and their growth and transformation. As they struggle in an often harsh world, they learn to experience the truth of God’s love and Presence through their joys as well as their sufferings—guided by the example of their teacher, the Baal Shem Tov, to maintain a strong spiritual inner core of peace.
The Tremble of Love reflects the vastness of life threaded with betrayal and tragedy but always leading us toward the mystery and beauty of Divine Presence in all things. A historical novel of epic proportions, it will leave the reader with a sense of connection to the great cycle of life and the holiness that pervades all things.
Reverend Nanette Sawyer, Minister, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago and author of Hospitality the Sacred Art: Discovering the Hidden Spiritual Power of Invitation and Welcome.
Ani Tuzman’s prose sings with lyricism in this captivating mystical narrative that carries readers into the depth of their souls and the peace and beauty that can be found there. The Tremble of Love: A Novel of the Baal Shem Tov offers refuge for the soul—for our collective soul.
Meira Warshauer, composer of Symphony No.1: Living Breathing Earth
A bold navigation between historiography and fiction, presenting a richly colorful image of the Baal Shem Tov’s personality and life story.
Immanuel Etkes, professor emeritus, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author of The Besht: Magician, Mystic, and Leader
I left the world while reading Ani Tuzman’s novel and came to love the world more.
Daniel Shanahan, poet, The Lotus Seed Poems, The Alaska Poems, and Crystal Lake
A great novel opens up our own life to ourselves; this joy of a book opens us not only to the unique spirit of the Baal Shem Tov but also to our own encounters with God’s love—whatever our path.
Pastor Marcel Narucki, St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Colorado
Behind the Scenes: The Writing Journey
The writing of this novel has been a long journey that isn’t ending … Read more
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