The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son

A direct descendant of the founder of Chassidic Judaism, Israel “Izzy” Eichenstein was told he was destined for greatness – but only if he obeyed every law of the ultra-Orthodox world into which he was born. Ruled by bearded, black-clad rabbis like Izzy’s father, it was (and remains) a society based on the religious practices of 18th-century European Jews. Television and movies were forbidden, there was a prayer for nearly every human activity, and contact with outsiders was strictly limited. Izzy knew from an early age that he did not fit in. But he also saw how misfits were treated—shamed, shunned by the community, and deserted by their families.

The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son traces Izzy’s tortuous and exhilarating journey out of fundamentalism. Along the way he submits to intensive Yeshiva training; becomes a roadie and then manager for the iconic singing rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach; drinks wine and trades philosophy with Bob Dylan; seeks solace from a fiery ex-rabbi turned therapist; and marries the red-haired girl from down the block who secretly shares his dreams of escape. From Chicago to Pittsburgh, Israel to Greenwich Village, and finally to the West Coast, Izzy struggles to break free from his upbringing and find his way to a Jewish community that speaks to his heart as well as his heritage.

For people curious about life in the closely guarded yeshivas, prayer halls, and neighborhoods of the ultra-Orthodox, The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son provides a fascinating insider’s view. For anyone who has endured the profound loneliness of being cast out from a fundamentalist group, Izzy’s story is a road map—and a promise that if you are true to yourself, you will find your place, your people, and your home.

iz@rabbisson.com

izzy

Call 310 337 9500 for Izzy’s availability to speak at your event. 

64 Responses to "The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son"

  1. The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son is a fascinating look into a world–both physical and psychological–many people, including many Jews, are unaware. It was so refreshing to read such a personal, open and honest account of growing up in the orthodox community yet pulled by the wider world or a sense simultaneous detachment from and love for one’s origins. Indeed this has a been a major theme in Jewish-related literature, but I have not read an account so personal, almost therapeutic. Izzy’s struggles are ongoing–yet that in no way diminishes the insight he sheds on them. Additionally, the book is peppered with terrific anecdotes about Bob Dylan, Los Angeles in the 1970s and 80s, and hippiedom in Israel. This was a meaningful read, which, at the very least, offers a small but poignant bit of insight into what it means to be Jewish–a question Jews have been grappling with for millennia, and the asking of which, perhaps, therein lies the answer.

  2. Edward Myska

    A very enlightening book for non jews. It is written from the heart
    and gives us a glimpse of a difficult journey

  3. Todd G.

    The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son is a fascinating look into a world–both physical and psychological–many people, including many Jews, are unaware. It was so refreshing to read such a personal, open and honest account of growing up in the orthodox community yet pulled by the wider world or a sense simultaneous detachment from and love for one’s origins. Indeed this has a been a major theme in Jewish-related literature, but I have not read an account so personal, almost therapeutic. Izzy’s struggles are ongoing–yet that in no way diminishes the insight he sheds on them. Additionally, the book is peppered with terrific anecdotes about Bob Dylan, Los Angeles in the 1970s and 80s, and hippiedom in Israel. This was a meaningful read, which, at the very least, offers a small but poignant bit of insight into what it means to be Jewish–a question Jews have been grappling with for millennia, and the asking of which, perhaps, therein lies the answer.

  4. Marvella

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, The Rebel and The Rabbi's Son | By Izzy Eichenstein, thanks for the good read!
    — Marvella

  5. Beth

    Mazal Tov on your book my old friend. Love the pictures and remember those days well. I look forward to reading your book.

  6. Jackg Gross

    What an extraordinary literary achievement !
    Izzy’s story is evocative of far more nobler accolades than to say it is worthy of a Pulitzer Prize for Literature; it calls for a Nobel Prize for Peace!
    Izzy has not only found Peace; he has shared it! Chronicled it!
    And done so artfully, sensitively, and faithfully.

    But before the Peace, there was… the War!
    Izzy is as well, the hero of combat! Survivor of the Maelstrom!
    The Good Soldier, and the walking wounded!
    And he has taken not one hostage!
    Caused not one casualty!
    Such Tact! Such strategy!

    It’s hard to write of the cerebrations of war without leaving the viscera of blood and gore all over the literary field of battle. But such was Izzy’s effort: to tell the tale with accuracy, and candor, but without (unfair) disparagement of the combatants.

    He has led us to the conclusions for ourselves.
    Shown us the light he found and shared its grace and optimism,
    without the need to tear the Temple down.

    Masterful, really…

    His powerful and prosaic autobiographical bildingsroman (growth story) has struck a lot of chords all over the place. His pain resonates against all of our own quests, the ones we’ve won, and the others, too. And we are better for his having opened the Pandora’s box of filial conflict with analytical resolution, We see his thought processes leading to his spiritual growth. We hear both sides of his arguments within, and without. He has us rooting for him, wishing for him, rejoicing with him!

    What an odyssey it’s been! (All right; throw in an award for travel-writing…)
    What an annealing process in a crucible of glass! (Add Chemistry here…)

    We have to have come from this book in a virtual sweat to fully appreciate his remarkable struggle and its’ brilliantly told tale.
    We have to have shed a tear for what he’s lost. And gained.
    For himself. For his readers.

    Bravo, Izzy! Kol Hakavod!

    Jack G.
    (yes, THAT toastmaster)

  7. For anyone willing to post a comment, there is now a Facebook page for The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rebel-and-the-Rabbis-Son/321924461240885

    We welcome your “like” posts on this page!

  8. Would you like to post your comment on the new Facebook page for the book? https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rebel-and-the-Rabbis-Son/321924461240885

  9. Al, there is now a Facebook page for this book. Would you be willing to post your comment there and “like” the page? https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rebel-and-the-Rabbis-Son/321924461240885

  10. In his memoir, Izzy Eichenstein, gets down into the depths of his being to reveal the deepest and darkest secrets and truths of his life. He has left himself raw and vulnerable on the page for the world and his estranged extended family to see. That is why, as he’s shared, he feels like a thousand pounds has been lifted off his back. Writing this real and compelling book has enabled Eichenstein to come to terms with who he is with respect to his family, his extended family, his profession, and his Judaism.

    I applaud this brave and forthright book. It will surely be an example to others who are looking for their own truths. Mr. Eichenstein has given us all a lesson in memoir writing.

  11. Al Hauser

    Izzy,

    I just finished reading your book. What a Great Read! I just couldn’t put it down. As a Catholic who was fortunate enough to have our paths cross, I am thankful that you listened to your Father words, “to thine own self, be true”. Because of this I learned from you many “people skills” that enhanced my sales career for the last 35 years.
    Thank you again for your honesty in this book and for the advise many years ago.

    Warm regards,
    Al Hauser

  12. Karen Scopp

    I just had the privilege of reading The Rebel and the Rabbi’s Son . It is the intimate story of Izzy Eichenstein’s inspiring, struggle to become independent by freeing himself from the restrictions enforced upon him from his ultra-orthodox family.

    Izzy you are so brave, not only living the life you led, but sharing it with the world!!! I am so impressed with your writing, your story, that Ken and I have chosen this book for our next book club!!
    I am honored to know you and to have you and Rita in my life!!
    Thank you, Karen

  13. David Bolduc

    Just when you think you know someone…

    I read “Rebel” in a day… compelling and relevant. As a non-practicing Catholic, I found “Rebel” to be a fascinating journey through the annals of Chasidic life. As a non-conformist myself, I found “Rebel” transcendent of it’s religious core. As a friend, I commend Izzy for a courageous work of art.

    Struggle we may,
    write about it we must,
    to share not what is different,
    but what is the same in us.

  14. Jerry Silverhardt

    I recently finished reading a wonderful & moving book, Izzy Eichenstein” The Rebel And The Rabbi’s Son” http://rabbisson.com ” It took great courage for Izzy to write this book and share his story with us. Show us the world that he was raised in and his lineage, the determination for him to leave that world. This book is truly a must read and I give it 5 stars !!

  15. Irwin Levin

    Although your lifelong search for independence while struggling to maintain the essence of your heritage in a meaningful way is uniquely personal to you, your words strike a universal chord with anyone who has tried to find themselves within the thicket of religious fundamentalism and still maintain the positive aspects of the experience. You have managed to do just that – without throwing the baby out with the bathwater – and came out a wonderful person. A really gripping and personal account.

    It no doubt took a tremendous amount of courage and pain to write such an honest book. Your family should be very proud.

  16. Mitzi Costin

    What an insight. I could not put your amazing book down. I loved reading it. I always liked you, and now I feel as if I almost know you. How fortunate we are to learn of the thoughts and struggles that one goes through in life before we become a mench such as you. Thank you.

  17. Ed Myska

    Iz,

    Your book is fascinating, interesting and very well written. I am not Jewish
    and had no idea of the exclusion and inclusion. It must have been very
    difficulat for you, but look what the end result accomplished. A good human
    being, with an open mind, and sounds like incredible family. Congrats.

  18. Elisa White

    Dear Izzy,
    Many thanks for sharing your personal story with us. Your perspective has deepened my understanding of these challenging issues.
    Elisa

  19. Allan Rudnick

    I read this book in two days. For me, it was a real page-turner as I followed the journey of a person who had to be true to himself, no matter what. We share his personal, intimate struggle with the choice of following along in his family legacy or breaking away to follow his own path. It is beautifully written in such a heartfelt way, that you are right there with Izzy all along the way.
    I found the journey very inspiring, and recommend it to anyone who wishes to see how much can come from having the courage to look inside and listen to your own self.

  20. mercaztorahandtefillah

    Just ordered it for the shul. Can’t wait for it to arrive.

  21. Tara Talvin

    I finished your book about a week ago, and I have been savoring the heart felt story and mulling over my thoughts on your brilliant and sensitive, but honest tour (for this goyim) through the culture of religious legalism within the ultra orthodox of Judaism. It is painful and heart rending to hear the rejection of a young boy wanting desperately to please and to feel the guilt as that same young boy, Izzy reaches under his pillow at bedtime to turn his transistor radio up to hear his beloved baseball game.
    The backstory is of a man’s love and admiration for his partner and wife, and how he gained strength from her to fight religious hypocrisy…..and yet love his entire family unconditionally. The mantra, “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and even though this is not your favorite (Izzy) it really does apply to your life! This book is a very moving memoir and I would recommend it to all!

  22. Gloria VN Stokol

    Izzy,

    I read your book and found it interesting and heartbreaking.

    As your friends for three decades, Colin and I have been present at most of your family’s major life cycle events, most recently flying to be with you at David and Erin’s New Jersey wedding.

    Reading about your upbringing and youth gave us a better understanding of what you went through to become who you are today.

    Congratulations,

    Gloria VN Stokol

  23. Alexander M

    Izzy,

    Congratulations dear friend; the book is eye opener to the challenges you were facing as you were growing up and seeking to find your True Nature.

    Book is Exciting, Exhilarating, Emotional, Powerful, Very adventurous Saga. Author is constantly pulled between Family and Tribe and Self Being.

    The Rebel and The Rabbi’s Son is incredible and powerful real life story of Izzy Eichenstein life long search for that Inner Realization of Truth and Enlightenment, and at the same time depicts Izzy’s mental turmoil in dealing with familial complete resistance to Izzy’s new way of Being.

    The book speaks loudly of Izzy’s most important Victory and that Victory is the gain of Wisdom of Inner Truth and Enlightenment over the constant negative forces of nature, family and friends that were pulling Izzy away from learning and knowing the Divine Truth.

    The ending is wonderful and happy to finally see Izzy finding long lost family member that have accepted him for just Being Izzy.

    God Bless Izzy and Los Angeles as this is the place were miracles and complete life changes are allowed to happen.

    A must read for everyone inspiring to live abundant and happy life.

    Alexander M
    Financier and Divine Being

  24. thena kendall

    It is important that people understand the pressures that are put on the children in ultra orthodox families and reading Izzy’s book will explain clearly and movingly how well meaning but misguided and old fashioned parents almost drove a sensitive young boy away from Judaism altogether. It is to Izzy Eichensteins credit that despite the emotional pain and distress he suffered over many years from his closest relatives he has found a way to follow the Jewish path . For those who have not been born into an orthodox family this gives a more realistic insight into the orthodox way of life than some of the often romanticised books that have been written by others. And for those who like myself shared Izzys family background it is good to find a book in which our lives are authentically described.

  25. Penelope Rosenberg

    Izzy,

    It took me two days to finish your most beautifully written book (only because I was tired and fell asleep holding it across my chest!!) I love your style of writing, it was such an easy read. This is the best Hanukkah present that I ever received. And it was personalized by the author.

  26. Penelope Rosenberg

    Izzy,
    It took me two days to finish your most beautifully written book (only because I was tired and fell asleep holding it across my chest). I love your style of writing, it was such an easy read. This is the best Hanukkah present that I ever received. And it was personalized to me by the author!!

  27. Lynn Franklin

    Izzy’s book is wonderful – on a personal, religious, and intellectual level. We can all learn so much — because Izzy shared his story, his bravery, and his powerful and sensitive words about his family, past and present. The reviews are correct: “Hats off to Izzy!… the heart of a poet and… the courage of clarity… heart-wrenching…” Deepest thanks for a fabulous Chanukah gift…

  28. Michael Blumenfeld

    This book tells of the courage Izzy took to discover his own journey to happiness and the guts to leave the “easy path”. This is a travelogue of escape and discovery. Bravo.. and you got the best travelmate to ride with you. Congrats for sharing this real life story…

  29. Spetd

    This is a remarkable book. It is a well written, piercingly honest look at a young man’s struggle between his love for his family and the intolerance of their religious rigidity. It is written with compassion, insight and humor, and is inspirational and instructional. Best of all, it is an easy, delightful read.

  30. Ari L

    Truly a touching and insightful journey. I am glad we can share the field of life together. Thank you for the hillarious tribute in the book……good thing there are no brick walls in baseball!!

  31. Lewis Rudzki

    Dear Iz,
    I even read the glossary.
    Your book is written with a likeness to how you speak, so as I read, I continued to hear your voice as the narrator. The book is about your life and the extraordinary journey which brings you to who and where you are today. What is most amazing to me is after all the change ups, curve balls and pitches which just got away; you continue to be kind, gracious and understanding.
    It was a great read – Thank you, Lew

  32. I bought the book and reading the book. Very inspiring story…

  33. R. Mel Gottlieb

    Izzy,
    I was very moved by your book. It is articulate, heart-felt, courageous, honest, and most significantly, important. The tensions that you highlight when one is caught between honest, deep feelings, that are not deniable and communal view that are not in favor with these feelings, and the suffering that it creates for the individual is palpable. Quite often individuals are chastised for genuine beliefs that they hold, and asked to give them up if they want to remain members of a community, and then one must face either the choice of being dishonest with oneself in order to preserve the sense of belonging in a community, or preserve one’s integrity and leave he community. This is a process that you capture very poignantly, since it takes time to come to a firm decision on this, and in the interim one must live with the tension, and perhaps an inner secret that you do not reveal. But you have embodied the example of courage, acknowledging that you can not change what you believe and experience, and were not willing to live anymore in an environment where your fundamental beliefs were not accepted as part of the community norm. You realized that there are other options where you could honestly hold your beliefs, take pride in your Judaism, and be a respected member of a Jewish community. The articulation of your journey will give strength to many individuals caught between the demands of the collective and the calling of the individual soul. Either way, one chooses there is some loss involved, some guilt as well, but the integrity of honoring your heart’s calling brings forth a joy that makes up for it. You seem to recognize that there are many paths to a life of spirituality, and the actualization of one’s unique potential; and as you honor these gifts and contribute them to the world, you are honoring G-d and the elevation of this world. As the Kotzker Rebbe is purported to say, “Any way can be a way, as long as you make it a way.” Mazal Tov on sharing your unique journey with us, and may you continue to grow from strength to strength. Respectfully, Mel G.

  34. mel gottlieb

    Izzy, congratulations. I very much look forward to reading it. I miss not seeing you. Love, mel

  35. Tara Talvin

    I am so thrilled to hear about your book. I want it! Working with and for you was a such a unique pleasure and hearing snippets about your origins in Chicago with your well known family have always intrigued me. You are such a thoughtful man and savvy business man…..that I cannot wait to read it! Mazel Tov for sure!

  36. Harvey Beesen

    Looking forward to reading your book.

  37. Izzy:
    I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this book with you and I look forward to getting the word out for you with a press release in the near future. You are a brave soul for stepping forward to speak your heart – at a possible cost of additional disfavor from your family. But the gain is that you are showing others it is important to be who you are, no matter what others think. Families are tough on many people and I admire you for your candor and willingness to take this journey.

  38. Shelley

    Can’t wait….Mazel Tov!

  39. Shelley

    Very excited for you! Mazel Tov!

  40. Rabbi Jill Zimmerman

    I eagerly await this book after hearing the stories all these years of Izzy’s amazing journey. In addition to his remarkable story and his never broken connection to Judaism (albeit his own way) he is the definition of a mensch. That says more to me than anything else. Whatever the trials and tribulations with his family, he has remained kind and respectful. That says everything about his character. He is a real jewel in Judaism.

  41. Art Mazirow

    I look forward to reading your book.

  42. Art Mazirow

    I look forward to reading it.

  43. Judi Weiss

    IZ! I am SO proud of you! I am looking forward to reading your creation!

  44. Barry M.

    Izzie…sounds to be an amazing read….what an incredible literary journey to embark on, look very much forward to reading it!!

  45. Philippe MONTHEARD

    Hello Izzy, I’ll not miss it. I will order it as soon it is possible
    kind regards, Philippe

  46. I am so freakin’ excited for this book it’s a joke. The story sounds incredible, almost fictional. One of those classic tales of having to go against your family for a path and woman that you love. This must easily be one of the hardest things to do. I couldn’t imagine it- being brought up in such a strict, insular community, and forging bonds and having experiences that are incredible- Dylan, Carlebach. Success in real estate. A beautiful family. All with that internal strife in the background.

    Oy, haha, incredible! Can’t wait. Publish this thing and get it on bookshelves ASAP please.

  47. Ashley Osterer

    so excited for this – and so is my mother. can we get Deanie to write a book next?

  48. Matthew Goetz

    Sounds like an incredible journey. I would recomend you go to Dennis Prager – he takes emails and probalby would be very interested in your story. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had you on his show. Good Luck

  49. shifra

    Izzy congrats. lot of people talk about writing a book, you did it. and now you are self-publishing. kol kavod. how you dealt with the challenges put in front of you rising above it without losing your humor that too so inspiring. feel very lucky to have you in my life. and can’t wait for “A Rabbi’s Son Goes Maverick” in its final state to hold and keep in an honored place amongst my favorite books.

  50. Peter

    Having had a sneak preview of his book I am clear that Izzy’s story taps into issues that have universal appeal. You don’t have to be Jewish to be touched…even inspired by the depth, honesty and insight of this memoir. A brave and wonderful read!
    -Peter B.

  51. Cari W

    I am so looking forward to reading this.Speaking as one who is on the far reformed end of reformed Judaism, the Hasidic culture is a fascinating and mysterious other world and I suspect Izzy’s wonderful words will shed a lot of light on it. Of course we already know the ending– that a terrific human being, conflicted or not, was produced from this upbringing

  52. Laurie Lande

    Am so glad that at least one of the Eichenstein’s wrote a book. This sounds interesting and I would be happy to help you promote it once it is published (self-published I guess?). Mazel Tov.

  53. Frank P

    Izzy and his family have touched the lives of me and family, so it is heartening to know that many more people will now have access to their love and insights.

  54. I believe your book will be healing for so many within your culture. I was a lucky one because as a child Heaven and Hell never made sense to me but I liked my Presbyterian minister and my family showed their religion in their actions. This a time for healing and I think truely your book will do just that. Good Luck and I love your style of writing.

  55. Allan Rudnick

    I want to pre-order the book, and am looking forward to reading it!
    I’m sure that this spiritual journey will resonate with many of us.

  56. DZ

    What does this have to do with softball? Iz, don’t duck!

  57. izzy

    Thank you for your interest, we are scheduled to release the book in mid-October, The Website will be providing the details of the book release .

  58. Kane Adkins

    To whom it may concern,

    I am interested in hearing more about your book. Can you please email me some information about it’s release or to tell me more about pre-order?

    Shalom,

    Kane Adkins

  59. Elisa Newman

    Can’t wait to read it!

  60. Paul A. Beck

    I would like to pre-order a copy of this book written by my friend. I know it will be very moving and compelling, and filled with both angst and love. I look forward to reading it and contemplating its lessons.

  61. Lewis Rudzki

    Very Interesting. I look forward to reading.

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