The Big Idea

Rabbi Sharon Brous’s book makes the case that in an era of loneliness, social alienation and ideological extremism, our deepest spiritual work is finding our way to one other — in celebration, sorrow, and solidarity.

Relationships of care and curiosity, she argues, are essential to both personal healing and social change. This is how we reawaken our humanity.

The Amen Effect is at once soulful, tender, heartbreaking, and hopeful. It reads like a compelling narrative, a captivating sermon and a deeply intimate memoir.

Brous draws her argument from ancient and contemporary wisdom, sharing heart-driven stories from the Jewish tradition and from her experience building and pastoring to the IKAR community over the past two decades.

The Amen Effect argues that openhearted human connection:

  • is a spiritual and biological necessity;
  • is the key to belonging and the antidote to loneliness;
  • can be the deepest expression of faith; and
  • gives our lives purpose and meaning.

Beyond that, Brous argues that the radical disconnection, isolation, and alienation of our time has created fertile soil for extremist social and political movements, fostering a crisis that is not only political, but also spiritual. Fortunately, the very same mechanisms for connection that help us heal as individuals can also help establish the foundation for a more connected and caring society.

With original insights and practical tools, The Amen Effect translates foundational ideas into simple practices that connect us to our better angels, offering pathways to a world built on love, rooted in justice, and propelled by our moral imagination.