From Publishers Weekly
In February 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan. Just before he died, he said, "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish." His parents decided to honor his memory by asking several hundred Jews to record their reactions to his words-statements that form the core of this book. Most of the 146 contributors are well-known authors, educators, rabbis, reporters, entertainers and political figures, including Joseph Lieberman, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, Elie Wiesel, Dianne Feinstein, Kerri Strug, Richard Dreyfuss and Wendy Wasserstein. The length of their statements varies from a sentence or two to essays that cover several pages. Their thoughts are organized around the five basic themes of identity; heritage; covenant, chosenness and faith; humanity; and tikkun ha'olam (repairing the world). The respondents provide anecdotes, theological formulations, personal reactions, biblical references and historical reflections, ranging widely from the superficial to the profound. Among the few Israeli contributors is Avrum Burg, an outspoken critic of the Sharon government and its policies. He argues eloquently that being a Jew places on him a special obligation to work for peace. Others place different constructions on what it means to be Jewish. Lack of consensus highlights the extreme variations in Jewish views, indicating that one value of this collection is its demonstration that a healthy diversity of opinion continues to characterize the Jewish community.
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Judea and Ruth Pearl are the parents of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002, and whose final words were, "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish." The book contains statements by 146 contributors expressing what being Jewish means to them. They range from major essays to a paragraph or a sentence from scholars, entertainers, authors, rabbis, and others, covering the religious, professional, and political spectrum. Responses have been placed into four categories: identity; heritage; covenant, chosenness, and faith; humanity; and tikkun ha'olam ("repairing the world") and justice. Among the contributors are A. B. Yehoshua, Daniel Schoff, Mike Wallace, Norman Lear, Kitty Dukakis, Shimon Peres, Cynthia Ozick, and Larry King. A fitting tribute to Daniel Pearl. George Cohen
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