Angela Himsel was raised in a German‐American family, one of eleven children who shared a single bathroom in their rented ramshackle farmhouse in Indiana. The Himsels followed an evangelical branch of Christianity which espoused a doomsday philosophy. Only faith in Jesus, the Bible, significant tithing, and the church’s leader could save them from the evils of American culture.
From the time she was a young girl, Himsel believed that the Bible was the guidebook to being saved, and only strict adherence to the church’s tenets could allow her to escape a certain, gruesome death, and live forever in the Kingdom of God. With self‐preservation in mind, she decided, at nineteen, to study at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. But instead of strengthening her faith, Himsel was introduced to a whole new world—one with different people and perspectives. Ultimately, the connection to God she so relentlessly pursued was found in the most unexpected practicing Jewish woman.
Himsel’s seemingly impossible road from childhood cult to a committed Jewish life is traced in and around the major events of the 1970s and 80s with warmth, humor, and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights. “A River Could Be a Tree” is a fascinating story of struggle, doubt, and finally, personal fulfillment.
Angela Himsel is a freelance writer based in New York City whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Jewish Week, the Forward, Lilith Magazine, BOMBMagazine and several other outlets. Her weekly column “Angetevka” on Zeek.net examined her life as an observant Jew on Manhattan’s Upper West Side against the backdrop of her fundamentalist Christian upbringing. For this body of work, Himsel received the American Jewish Press Association’s Rockower Award for Excellence in Commentary. She holds a BA in religious studies from Indiana University, which included a two‐year stint studying at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Books by the author will be available for purchase at this event courtesy of Oblong Books & Music