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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family

I read a blurb about this book a while ago and added it to my queue, and I was pleasantly surprised when it came up a couple of weeks ago. This is Ezekial J. Emanuel's Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family

The Emanuel brothers are individually well known: Rahm was Obama's chief of staff and is currently the Mayor of Chicago; Ari is a well known Hollywood agent who had a very popular TV character made after him; and Zeke is a world-renowned doctor who has fought for universal health care. How did one family create three such extraordinary children? Their parents raised them in Chicago, both the city and the suburbs, spending summers in Israel and ingraining in them a strong sense of family, religion, and social justice. 

This book was extraordinary itself in the breaking down of a family that believed, and still believes, so deeply in creating greatness, supporting others, and fighting for what's right. I was incredibly moved by Emanuel's description of his mother, Marsha. She was a strong woman who raised her boys with pluck and a loose grip but instilled in them the incredible belief in justice for all human beings. I found myself teary-eyed when Emanuel wrote about her fights for justice on the streets of Chicago. I admired the woman when he wrote about how his mother would pack up the boys in their coats and boots and the youngest in a stroller, board the bus, and participate in a protest for fair housing or rights to public spaces, then would take the same bus back home to have dinner on the table for her husband when he got home from a long day serving his community as a doctor. 

Their father was also a pretty rockin' guy. He believed in quality health care for all, and he would charge his clients on a sliding scale depending on their income. Some he would just serve for free. This book was a great story about what the Emanuel parents put in their sons' cereal, but if you think it is just that, then read it again. It's a story of a pair of parents who raised their children with values that were bigger than just serving themselves. They raised their children to fight for what they believed in, and to fight for human rights of their fellow citizens. This story will absolutely stay with me as I hope to follow Marsha's example and instill in my own children a strong sense of social justice for all Americans.

For purchase below.

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