One gets the scary feeling that something extraordinary had to happen to save Ilana Kurshan from herself.She grew up extremely self-conscious, the daughter of a Conservative rabbi in the United States. She was compulsively driven to achieve and accomplish. She was also a relentless perfectionist and wound up hospitalized with anorexia nervosa while in her early 20s. Her parents urged her to go to psychotherapy, but she refused, believing it would not help her. She recovered, taking with her the ravages of this insidious disease and continued studying at Harvard and then Cambridge, where she fell in love with English literature. Yet something was always missing.She married early, a judgmental man named Paul, and followed him to Jerusalem. The marriage fell apart quickly, leaving her reeling. At 27, she found an apartment in Jerusalem and began working as a book editor and translator for a literary agency. On a run with a friend, she heard about daf yomi, a seven-and-a-half-year project where one attempts to master one page of the Babylonian Talmud each day. She was intrigued, but wondered if she was up to the task.