Today’s Guest: Susan Silverman, rabbi, international adoption activist, author, Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful Broken World
Watch this exclusive Mr. Media interview with Rabbi Susan Silverman by clicking on the video player above!
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of full-grown adults who would like a shot at being adopted by the Silverman clan… in the NEW new media capital of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
Rabbi Susan Silverman is a bit of an alarmist.
Don’t believe me? Just read her book.
From the Prologue:
“At recess, I’d puposely get an out in kickball in exchange for my parents still being alive when the 3 p.m. bell rang and the school day was over.”
SUSAN SILVERMAN podcast excerpt: “People are more likely to adopt if they feel their community has their back. I would say to people, create a situation in which you can adopt. If you have that in your heart and that capacity in your life, take the risk!”
And on Page 90, as a grown-ass married woman and mother:
“Once, upon hearing of a crash in Russia, I actually figured out how (my husband) could have ended up on that flight, a scenario that included a wrong gate and an absentminded ticketing agent. I had recently spent half the night dialing and re-dialing the front desk of his hotel, asking the same clerk to put me through to his room. I had left messages, but what if he didn’t check them? What if the red light on the hotel-room phone was out? What if he were lying dead in the gutter RIGHT NOW?
“…God created the world through poetic speech. I patrolled mine through vigilant bitchiness.”
Don’t misunderstand – I’m not making fun of Susan. (Okay, maybe a little. I am married; I know the drill.)
As the first-born child of Beth Ann and Donald Silverman, Susan experienced a horrific trauma: her three-month-old baby brother died in his crib while her parents were on a short vacation and the baby was being cared for by Donald’s parents.
That 1964 incident—at least from my reading of Susan’s new book, Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World – colored everything that has followed in her life, from being ordained to raising a family of five, becoming an adoption activist, and relocating from Boston to Jerusalem.
SUSAN SILVERMAN podcast excerpt: “My brother, Jeffrey Michael, was a baby when he died– I don’t even remember him. It wasn’t until I was an adult and in therapy, talking this intense separation anxiety i have. I mentioned that I had a brother who died when I was two. My therapist said, ‘WHAT?’ I had been in therapy for three years already. She said, ‘Susan, wake up and smell the coffee.’ It helped shift things a lot. As did Zoloft.”
In Casting Lots, Susan tells her story, warts, four-letter words and all, and makes her case for easing restrictions on international adoptions.
By the way, I first became interested in Susan last summer when I heard the audiobook edition of her sister Sarah’s book, The Bedwetter, in which the comedian—perhaps best known for her music video, “F*@#ing Matt Damon” and support of candidates Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders—talks in awe about her big sister, the rabbi and mother.
Key interview moments:
• 3:40 Rabbi Susan Silverman talks about the personal breakthrough in therapy that helped her cope with her intense, lifelong separation anxiety;
• 13:10 She offers constructive advice to families considering adoption;
• 26:19 Silverman addresses her frustration with what she sees as a shift among aid organizations such as Save the Children and UNICEF away from private adoption and more focused on warehousing orphaned children around the world.