The Best Boy in the United States of America: A Memoir of Blessings and Kisses

Ron Wolfson (Author)


Powerful life lessons in a funny and moving portrait of family, community and spiritual discovery in America.

Hilarious and heartfelt, Ron Wolfson's inspiring memoir is filled with stories of growing up in a warm family, encountering colorful characters like the merchants of Omaha and the famous Warren Buffett, navigating adolescence and learning never to underestimate his mother.

With easygoing Midwestern humor and profound poignancy, Ron's "true stories" of family and community in the United States of America will resonate with anyone seeking to shape stronger families, create compelling communities and live their best life, a life of joy and laughter, meaning and purpose, and, yes, blessings and kisses.

"I am the best boy in the United States of America. That's what my grandfather--my 'Zaydie'--called me from the time I was a little child in Omaha, Nebraska. I know it's true because this is a true story. All my stories are true....

"Zaydie loved three things: his family, his business, and his adopted country--the United States of America. I never, ever heard Zaydie say 'the United States.' It was always 'da United States of America, ' in his thick Russian accent.... For Louie Paperny, each one of his nine grandchildren was the best boy or the best girl in the United States of America. We believed him. I believed him. And in a certain way, I've lived the rest of my life trying to be that best boy."

--from Chapter 1

Product Details

$19.99  $18.39
Jewish Lights Publishing
Publish Date
July 31, 2015
6.0 X 0.8 X 9.1 inches | 0.85 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Dr. Ron Wolfson, visionary educator and inspirational speaker, is Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles and a cofounder of Synagogue 3000. He is author of Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community; The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth; Be Like God: God's To-Do List for Kids; God's To-Do List: 103 Ways to Be an Angel and Do God's Work on Earth; Hanukkah, Passover and Shabbat, all Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs Art of Jewish Living family guides to spiritual celebrations; The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Sacred Community; A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort: A Guide to Jewish Bereavement and Comfort; and, with Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman, What You Will See Inside a Synagogue (all Jewish Lights), a book for children ages 6 and up. He contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism--Yizkor, Who by Fire, Who by Water--Un'taneh Tokef, All These Vows--Kol Nidre, and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism--Ashamnu and Al Chet (all Jewish Lights).

Dr. Ron Wolfson is available to speak on the following topics:
  • Building Good Tents: Envisioning the Synagogue of the Future
  • God's To-Do List
  • The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven
  • Blessings and Kisses: The Power of the Jewish Family
  • A Time to Mourn, a Time to Comfort

Click here to contact the author.


Through his collection of true stories in TheBest Boy in the United States of America, Dr. Ron Wolfson captures the heart of the American Jewish experience.

Framed between his Russian immigrant grandfather's wet sloppy kisses and Dr. Wolfson's own wet sloppy kisses to his grandchildren, TheBest Boy in the United States of Americais more than a memoir of a singular person's experience, it is the memoir of the American Jew. His stories will make you laugh and cry--sometimes at the same time.

Dr. Wolfson, a keen observer, chronicles his family, friends, teachers--virtually anyone he meets. He relays his experiences with humor and compassion. In his journey from an unruly Hebrew school student to renowned Jewish educator he encounters and presents a fanciful but true-to-life cast of characters. From Mrs. B, who financially out-maneuvered Warren Buffet, to his mother's ethical will, his memoirs delight, move and inspire his readers.

Because his reflections teach us the value of the Jewish family, the joy of being Jewish and how to be a mensch, the book should be read by every Jewish educator and parent, but is also an enjoyable read for anyone who has ever been a child or grandchild. It is worth noting that Dr. Wolfson's narrative has a universal aspect that will make it appealing even to a non-Jewish audience, as he painstakingly explains every Yiddish or Hebrew word and Jewish custom.

Dr. Wolfson understands the power of a story, especially a shared one. These stories, in essence, are a reflection road map on how to create a Jewish identity in the next generation of "best boys and girls in the United States of America."

The Best Boy in the United States of Americashould come with a warning: the reader could find themselves laughing at inopportune times or having the insatiable urge to read the book aloud to family and friends.

For all its humor, Dr. Wolfson's memoir has a serious calling to all Jewish adults--what Jewish legacy are we passing to the next generation?The Best Boy in the United States of Americais not just an entertaining memoir, it is an important one.

--Cathy Sussman "Jewish Book Council "