My Father's Compass

Dr. Howard Goldenberg

Tuesday 12 June 2007
Time: 6.00pm

Join Howard Goldenberg for a drink and the launch of his new book My Father’s Compass.
Howard’s book will be launched by Paul Jennings.

Dymocks Melbourne
234 Collins St. Melbourne Australia
Free event but bookings are essential. Phone 03 9660 8500

My Fathers Compass Howard GoldenbergWhen a son's biography of his father's long and extraordinary life begins "My father was a faithful Jew. He was also a radical sceptic", readers know they're in for a thrilling, multidimensional ride. How can a faithful Jew, a man described through his long life as observing the commandments, refuse to believe in anything he was told without seeing the evidence for himself?

Yet this is the conundrum which permeates Howard Goldenberg's beautiful and painful biography of his astonishing father. Howard, a Melbourne doctor, spent more than 57 years observing his father, Myer, in the most minute and intimate detail, and the result of such intimacy enabled him to write a beautiful memoir, My Father's Compass.

What could have been a sentimental hagiography is, instead, a delightful and complex exploration studied with wit, passion and luminous respect. But more than a son's recording of a father's life, My Father's Compass is an exemplar of that unique quality of Jewishness which has enabled us to survive all of the trials and tribulations of the past two thousand years.

Myer Goldenberg, Howard's father, was a chameleon of a man, playing many parts throughout his long and fascinating life. He was a country doctor in Leeton, a sailor, a gardener, a carpenter, olive grower, shipwright, a French polisher, and follower of other trades and professions; but central to them all was his deep and abiding conviction to his Judaism.

Indeed, what makes Myer such a fascinating character is the fusion of dinky-di Aussie and devout Eastern European Jew, a man who straddles both worlds while at the same time creating a unique place for himself and his talented family in landscapes populated by bushies and urbanites.

Howard Goldenberg and his siblings might have had a favoured upbringing because of their father, but through Howard Goldenberg's book, we are all enabled to journey with them through half a century of Jewish history, tradition and culture.

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