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Bitter-Sweet Bitterness



Theresa G
I've been reading your e-book on homelessness, and am now on page 96. I can't stand watching my usual youtube videos today, so I'm listening to classical music and reading. Your words strike at my heart. The misery you have survived is so shattering, so deeply troubling! In this land of milk and honey so many of us are merely surviving. I'm honored to know you, even more so after having read what I have of your journal. To live through such times and still have the kindness and heart you do! Thank you, Judah, for sharing your struggles with the world, with me.


I finally finished reading Judah Kessler's book "Bittersweet Bitterness". It was such a raw look at the working homeless of Ne York city. Many times I wanted to cry, thinking what Judah and other experienced when they were at their lowest.

The dehumanizing effect of homelessness take its toll and if he hadn't had a strong will, it could very well have caused his death in some fashion or other. Through all his worries, torment and struggled he found his way out of the system broken and having to put himself back together.

I must warn you that this book is hot for the squeamish or faint of heart. It's brutally honest and things that you take for granted in your daily life you may appreciate much more after you read it.

Do you ever think about what a sweet pleasure it is to take a warm shower use your own rest room, have real toilet paper? Have you ever gone days without decent food or any food at all?

Can you imagine everything you hold dear gone? Your photographs, music, mementos?

All it takes is a few paychecks and you could be the next one on the street.

Please, please take the time to read this book and count your blessings if you have a roof over your head. Judah uses the proceeds from his book to help homeless people get the things they so desperately need.

Spend a few dollars, grab a chair and hold on for a gritty ride! Hopefully when you have finished the last chapter you'll appreciate much more the simplest and the most important things that make your life livable.
(* Read the original on Minds.com *)


2015/10/09 at 14,45
I read the book and cried. It was shocking yeah. But true and truth is shocking sometimes. Keep your spirits up. Congratulations on getting yourself out. We can only depend on self. Looking for the followup and what you’re doing now.


2015/10/29 at 09,14
Hello. I just heard that you have another book coming out. I read Bittersweet and like it very much and used it as reference in some of my classes. Is it true you’re putting another book out? Can you tell any details about it if you are? Thanks. Kris


2016/01/11 at 23,18
I have been meaning to write and tell you that I have started reading your book—it is riveting,upsetting,funny and inspiring, all at the same time. I am so glad that you wrote it and hope it gets wide distribution. You are a such strong person, to have gone through everything and survived! I am at page 187, still at Bellevue, but making progress towards getting a job.(The whites scrubs!) Since I read the book on my Nook,I can’t get the sketches and paintings—I will need to look at them on my computer.


Monday, 11 January 2016
If Franz Kafka and Virgina Woolf ever had a secret, illegitimate Love-child... THIS would be the story of that child. Poetic. Inspirational. Poignant. Beautiful images. And after several weeks of compiling and editing and searching for the "right" images... and trying to keep "life in general" moving along... this is complete and getting ready to be presented to the market. So if you're looking for something to browse through on these cold nights, or a little something to give to somebody who enjoys a cushy recliner, a hot toddy and a large hand-made afghan... and a quite something to read... keep a watch because it'll be out there with-in the next day or two! It was another labour of love... and I hope you'll all give yourselves the pleasure of reading it. Thanks all! Now it's on to the next work... already in progress.


PBA: 8 December 2015
Dear Heart! I just read the 1st line and it hurt, Good Job!!


DK: 5 December 2015
Am nearing first 100 pages. Been reading off and on throughout day. Nice journal. The beginning was hard on me, knowing what had befallen you and what you were heading into, but it lightened up in its own way if that makes any sense. You have been through a lot and I admire you for your perseverance, stamina and accomplishments.


KM: 3 December 2015
I have always helped with charities, etc. And now with having a Grandson, I want to teach him starting young how to help out when needed. Hey all of my reading friends out there. This is a MUST read. It is written by a friend in NY about his life of living in a homeless shelter while holding down a job. While, I know that I LOTS of times looked at homeless people as either lazy, druggies, etc., this book shows how one change in life can cause you to end up there. I am happy to say that he is out of the shelter but will never forget what it was like and is still like for people he got to bond with while there.


EW: 3 Decemeber 2015
This author is profound,raw and unique.
Read this book! I have been awarded the privilege of being able to have read excerpts before publishing and strongly urge all that value humanity and kindness to read this!

This writer gives the reader a first hand account of being one of many Working Homeless. It is unforgiving, disturbing at times, but REAL and inspiring. Anyone that cares about humanity must read and share this with others. Perhaps it will help people understand the real world of being homeless. It CAN happen to anyone.
Got the book a week ago based on a tip from a friend in Florida
Must say that is not an easy book to read ,mostly because of the subject matter.
But none the less it has been impossible to put it down.
Based on my experience in social work it is a must read for all professionals in the field


Journal Days



David Kirkman
2016/01/01 at 12,54
Journal Days offers up a personal and provacative and sometimes painful and heartbreaking insight into the daily grind, and that’s putting it lightly to say the least, of homelessness and more specific of the working homeless; the realities homeless people see and experience, as well as the multifaceted challenges they face given any minute of their day. It is through reads such as this, that trustingly, insight can be brought forward to establish a working agenda and platform to address homelessness, but more importantly to put into place a ‘Homeless Bill of Rights.’ Homelessness knows not sex, race, creed, nationality, time, place or circumstance. People are usually unwilling to lend a helping hand to the homeless, whether it be through a direct encounter or via organizations, believing all along that these people are simply worthless, even publicly expressing contempt and hatred. People are also not willing to appropriate or legislate proposals involving tax dollars towards a situational that they deem or view as impossible to rectify. I came across this in an article on homelessness and am going to place an excerpt from it here. “The genius of any slave system is found in the dynamics which isolate slaves from each other, obscure the reality of common condition, and make united rebellion against the oppressor inconceivable.” – Andrea Dworkin. “I believe that isolating and excluding the issues of equal rights of the homeless from these issues of equal rights among races and sexes of people, does just that; obscure the reality of this common condition among these, in turn suppressing the needed changes of them all . . . By ignoring one, . . . is to ignore them all. We can not be selective, . . . only if they fit a particular social and economic status.” – Sonny Iverson. Journal Days serves both as a worthwhile read as well as a much needed reminder for all of us, in and of society today, that it exists within everyone of us, to both take and make the time and moment and be human and respect another human being. In closing, a quote from a homeless man; “I am not a bum, I am a human being.” Thank you and bless you Judah for shedding light and bringing this issue forward.


Michael D.
2015/12/29 at 12,13
Mr. Kessler, just about finished through the book Journal Days here and want to congratulate you on a job very well written. At times I felt like it was a bit harsh but then as I read along I came to understand that this isn’t a matter that can be made light of even though at some points you managed to. You put people into the word homeless that too many of us use very negatively and I believe that if more would read this there would be alot more compassion and better understanding for those who just hit a hard time in life. Journal Days really isn’t only about the homeless it’s about all of us every day of our own lives. How we see each day and what we do with it. I guess I’m inspired. I hope the book has much success. Your guys there should be very proud of you and thankful because you made that promise and yes sir you kept it. Best of luck to you Mr. Kessler


Isaac R.
2015/12/05 at 18,51
I just finished reading Journal Days and all I would like to say is that you are a kind man. I pray that you will be protected from that ever happening again. Thank you for writing the story for all of us to see and know. How proud your fellow residents must be to have met you.


Gerald Fieldston
2017/01/20 at 10,24
Finished reading Journal Days. It was a roller coaster of emotions. Unexpected in a lot of ways. But I don’t suppose the homeless issue can be made romantic. Over all it was educational and I hope a lot of people are helping themselves by reading it. These days where we really can’t be too sure of our finances and politics your journal comes in very handy. Nobody can be positive that it won’t happen to them. Reading your book has made me more aware of my own shortages. And I look at the homeless people from a whole new and better point of view now. I never would have imagined that any of them do have jobs and like you pay taxes like the rest of us. It must have been frustrating for you and it must be very hard on them to work and contribute and have to go through that hell. It was really interesting to read what happened to you on the day that Obama was elected too. Your story is part of American history now. Have to admit that at first I thought it was going to be a dark sort of story and at times it really is. But it’s more like a march through hell to get to heaven. A tragic story with a beautiful ending to inspire us all. I’m glad to learn that your sales go back to the homeless too. I don’t like donating to charities anymore because of all the waste I read about. I look at buying the book as making my contribution to a worthy cause and getting a gift in return. I have a book and a survival guide. It can’t get much better than that. Good luck to you from now on and thank you for making the story available to us all. I’m sure the guys you wrote it for should be very happy and thankful to you too. I keep you and them in my prayers. I hope you’re doing well these days. Best regards. Gerald Fieldston


Tom Kearny
2016/04/16 at 18,55
Mr. Kessler I just finished reading your Journal Days. Stunning, striking, insightful, a true learning experience. It’s been a real source of a lot of deep conversation on the subject of homelessness and homeless people and working homeless is now a common term in discussions. Your book is an invaluable resource and I wonder if you’ve ever made personal presentations on the matter of the homeless. The book is so educational for all ages. Adults need to know what we might confront if we ever find ourselves in your position and children should know what their own futures might hold for them. Homelessness isn’t just a financial issue, as so many have learned in times of hurricanes and tornadoes and it really doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with responsibility. Nature can take a home and a life. People need to know what you experienced. Thank you for writing and sharing your experience. You are in the thoughts and prayers of many.





Theresa @tomtomandt
APR 8, 2020, 5:54:24 AM
Review of Lembrook by @Judah Kessler

You can read this short story in one sitting, but it is well worth the brief time it takes to read the pages of this dreamscape. As I read felt as if I had been transported to another place in another time, and the place seemed familiar, as if a place once visited long ago,. As I read, I thought of C. S. Lewis. He wrote a book called the Great Divorce that could have been the recording of a dream of the afterlife
br /> This fictional Lembrook is a type of Heaven itself to me. Everything is harmonious, the people have purpose and are content as well as at peace. The place is an architectural wonder, yet it is ancient and well used.

When the book comes to a close and the reader is made aware that the tale they just read was a dream, I think of my brush with the angel of death. I saw a beautiful place, distant, and shrouded with thick haze. There appeared a realm of beauty unlike anything ever seen with earthly eyes.

I'd like to think that this village, small Lembrook, is a little piece of Heaven that I have yet to visit. I may be able to close my eyes and visit. But I'll awake once more, and remember that, for now, Lembrook isn't visible, but it is there, nevertheless.



Pete Langsdon
2017/12/15 at 10,05
Thanks so much for Lembrook. One of few books I keep rereading. Especially good before going to bed at the end of a hectic day. I wonder if the postcards look anything like the images I have in my mind. Great work. More please.





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