Bebergal, Peter

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Bebergal, Peter

PERSONAL:

Married; children: one son. Education: Graduate of Brandeis University and Harvard Divinity School.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Cambridge, MA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer.

WRITINGS:

(With Scott Korb) The Faith between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God, foreword by Stephen J. Dubner, Bloomsbury USA (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of stories, essays, and interviews to periodicals and Web sites, including the Boston Globe, Salon.com, Beliefnet, and Nextbook; editor at Zeek; author of the blog Mystery Theater.

SIDELIGHTS:

Peter Bebergal is the author, with Scott Korb, of The Faith between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God. Bebergal, who describes himself as a "failed Jewish mystic," teamed up with Korb, "a former wannabe Catholic priest," to tell of their two very different paths to faith. The met after reading each other's articles about their similar quest in online magazines. Bebergal, who once abused alcohol and drugs, and Korb, who suffered from his own demons, offer alternate single-narrator stories, each with an epilog by the other, on various topics that include music and religion, drugs as a medium for seeing God, and prayer. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "they represent a little bit of all of us in this thoughtful, engaging debate about the virtues of faith and the existence of God."

In a review for the Street Prophets Web site, Matthew Krell wrote: "What became abundantly clear in Bebergal and Korb's evolutions was that if one believes in progressive values, that implied in that is moderation in faith…. This sort of faith can be, and for Bebergal and Korb is, incredibly intense in its own practice and belief. But it is remarkably tolerant of other practice and belief, and is willing to seek meaning in any practice that it sees as reasonable, and, more importantly, seeks to moderate its practice when necessary to make it meaningful to outsiders who participate." Margaret Flanagan commented in Booklist that The Faith between Us "speaks volumes about positive expressions of faith in the here and now."

Bebergal and Korb were interviewed by Robert Siegel and Bill McGarvey for the BustedHalo.com. McGarvey commented: "One of the great parts of the book is where Peter asks ‘is this God big enough to love me and my comic books or our love—Scott and Peter's love—of music and movies etc?’ For a generation of people who don't buy religious language, who don't get it or it doesn't signify anything to them, that might seem outlandish that religiously minded people would find nourishment in those things." McGarvey asked Bebergal to comment on that remark, and Bebergal said: "I think all the wonderful ways in which human beings express themselves is really one of the great gifts of being human. And I think that everything we do to build and create and use reason and be creative—it's just one of the great things that we've been given by God. And I believe that God loves the world and I believe that God loves the work that we do here."

Bebergal summed up their approach to faith when he said: "We've been showing our family and our friends and our peers that it is possible to have a religious life that's thoughtful, that's filled with doubt, and joy, that is reasonable but is also devout and that we can still hold very particular political beliefs and we can still hold very particular scientific beliefs, and that nobody has to make assumptions anymore—when somebody says they believe in God—about the rest of what they believe."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Bebergal, Peter, and Scott Korb, The Faith between Us: A Jew and a Catholic Search for the Meaning of God, Bloomsbury USA (New York, NY), 2007.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 2007, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Faith between Us, p. 22.

Library Journal, November 1, 2007, Denise J. Stankovics, review of The Faith between Us, p. 73.

Publishers Weekly, August 27, 2007, review of The Faith between Us, p. 80.

ONLINE

BustedHalo.com,http://www.bustedhalo.com/ (March 16, 2008), Robert Siegel and Bill McGarvey, "Reflections on God from a Spiritual Odd Couple," author interview.

Faith between Us Web site,http://www.thefaithbetweenus.com (March 16, 2008).

SoMA Review,http://www.somareview.com/ (April 12, 2008), Astrid Storm, review of The Faith between Us.

Street Prophets,http://www.streetprophets.com/ (December 18, 2007), Matthew Krell, review of The Faith between Us.