Press Kit 


For Immediate Release


(New York, NY -- Summer 2019) --  Rabbi Richard Dean Agler releases his debut title The Tragedy Test, a narrative written in the wake of the sudden, accidental death of his twenty-six-year-old daughter, Talia, that details his journey from devastation to acceptance of his life-changing loss.

Published by Wipf and Stock of Eugene, Oregon, a traditional publisher of religious and academic titles, The Tragedy Test explores timeless questions of faith, belief, and resilience; among them: how could this have happened? Why did it happen? To me of all people? And, where is life’s justice and fairness?

In clear and compelling language, with reference to both ancient and modern sources of wisdom, The Tragedy Test provides insight into these and other questions that arise in the aftermath of impactful loss. 

Endorsed by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, and favorably reviewed online and in print by scholars and lay readers alike, The Tragedy Test provides guidance on navigating our own personal tragedies and supporting friends and loved ones through theirs.

While The Tragedy Test is written for a general audience, religious and academic professionals will find Rabbi Richard Agler’s treatment of classic questions, along with responses and proposed solutions to those questions meaningful as well.

“Tragedy tests us as nothing else does. When we experience life-changing loss, it tests us personally, it tests our understanding of the world, and it can test our faith. I’m a Rabbi, and it tested mine. When our twenty-six-year-old daughter Talia was struck and killed by a motor vehicle while jogging, my life was rocked. Tali was bright, healthy, and a vibrant young woman with her whole life in front of her. Things like this are not supposed to happen. But of course, they do. And when they do, we ask why? The physics of tragedy can be simple. But what of the metaphysics? How do we come to terms with senseless and random tragedies? How do we live meaningfully in a world where they happen as often as they do? And finally, where is God in all of this? I knew lots of ways to answer these questions, but suddenly, when it mattered most, too many of them were not good enough. I was not passing the tragedy test, and neither was my understanding of my faith. So I sat down to write, not knowing where the process would lead. As I wrote, I wrestled with many beliefs I had long taken for granted. Some of them seemed valid, others did not. It ultimately led to this book, an account of my journey from devastation to - at least some - peace. It might help you on yours as well.” - Rabbi Richard Agler, Author, The Tragedy Test

The Tragedy Test is available for purchase from, where each book will be personally signed by Rabbi Richard Agler and a portion of the proceeds will be contributed to The Tali Fund, a 501 (c) (3) corporation registered in the State of Florida, USA. The Tali Fund was established to continue Talia Agler’s work and dreams to support the Talia Agler Girls Shelter, an arm of the Centre for Domestic Training and Development in Nairobi, Kenya. It supports educational efforts and programs to encourage organ donation. 

For further information, visit or contact Rabbi Richard Agler.


Author Bio:

Rabbi Richard Agler, DD, was ordained in 1978. He is the founding rabbi, now Rabbi Emeritus, of Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida. He has taught accredited, graduate level courses in mysticism. His gift for bringing complex ideas to life makes him a speaker in demand. He has published articles and letters on political ethics, interfaith relations, and baseball. He currently serves as Co-Director of the Tali Fund and Resident Scholar of the Keys Jewish Community Center in Tavernier, Florida. The Tragedy Test is his widely acclaimed first book.

Click here for full bio.

Rabbi Richard Agler

Rabbi Richard Agler

“Why I wrote the Tragedy Test

this 2:45 video explains it:

It also appears on the home page at Share it for digital publicity!


suggested Interview Questions for Journalists and others:

Why did you write this book?

Did writing it change you?

What can/do you say to others who have suffered a life-changing loss?

Why do you think there is tragedy in the world?

You write about the “God of Law and Spirit.” Can you tell us what you mean by that?

Tell us about your daughter Talia’s legacy.

Do you have a message for other spiritual leaders—who may or may not share your faith or conclusions?

Would you like to leave us with a favorite quotation from The Tragedy Test?


The Tragedy Test | Cover art and Copy

The Tragedy Test  by Richard Agler    Published 2018 | Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR

The Tragedy Test by Richard Agler

Published 2018 | Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR

About the Tali Fund:

Talia Faith Agler (1985-2012) sought to better the world and succeeded in doing so—through her work, her wit and her love. The Tali Fund has been established to support her ongoing work and dreams. It financially supports the Talia Agler Girls Shelter, an arm of the Centre for Domestic Training and Development in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition, it supports educational efforts and programs to encourage organ donation.

The Tali Fund is a 501 (c) (3) corporation registered in the State of Florida, USA.

For more about Talia’s ongoing work and legacy, click here.


Talia Faith Agler, 1985-2012

Talia Faith Agler, 1985-2012