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A Prayer for the Departed

The drama of the book follows a voyage of the author from his home as he leaves his widowed mother and all that she demands. As he revisits his family on important occasions, he carries on a life-long dialogue, often an argument, with his mother about the differences in their lives. From her he learns about her early years and those of his father and how those experiences shaped their lives and the lives of their siblings. His grandmother’s Old World preference for her sons profoundly affected his mother and his aunt, robbing them of the self-confidence their talents merited. His father’s early death leaves the author to deal with his mother’s hysteria when his older brother marries out of the faith. Later, a dead uncle reaches out with a posthumous gesture of affection by entrusting the author with a legacy for delivery to a nurse with whom his uncle fell in love years before on the World War II battlefields of Italy. The book ends when the author returns as a middle-aged man to express his love and appreciation for his mother and her generation as she declines into dementia and her life’s end.

Broder has written the book in the tradition of the Jewish prayer for the dead, the Kaddish. Death is the occasion to celebrate the lives of those who have died and to demonstrate gratitude for all life. His book aims to remind readers of the values, love and conflicts of a 20th century Jewish-American family. “The failure of memory,” Broder says, “puts the future in peril.” Broder intends his book, “A Prayer for the Departed,” to be for readers of all ages, who appreciate the importance of the past, family lore and dramatic presentation of characters through their domestic struggles.

“A Prayer for the Departed: Tales of a Family through the Decades of the Last Century” is available for sale online at,, and other channels.