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Far from Zion: In Search of a Global Jewish Community Paperback – November 2, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Raised in a nonreligious Jewish family, Charles London knew hisheritage but had no strong desire to experience it personally. Thenin the summer of 2004, while doing relief work in Bosnia, he stumbled upon a remarkable community—where Jews worked alongside Muslims and Christians to rebuild a city ravaged by war. This encounter gave him the idea for a journey that would take him aroundthe world and back to his roots.
Far from Zion is the story of Jews in far-flung, often surprising places. Despite efforts by Israel to bring these scattered people home to Zion, they have chosen to remain in the lands of their birth: a shopkeeper selling Jewish trinkets in Iran, a caretaker keeping watch over an all-but-forgotten synagogue in Rangoon, revelers at a Hanukkah celebration in an Arkansas bowling alley, a Cuban engineering professor, proud of his Jewish heritage and prouder still of his Communist ideals. It is through their stories and many others that London examines his own identity, as he, too, struggles to come to terms with his connection to Zion.
Top Customer Reviews
That community has dissolved but Mr. London started his own personal search of what it means to be a Jew in the Diaspora. His travels take him to visit Jewish communities in Burma, Arkansas, New Orleans, Bosnia, Uganda, Iran, Cuba and finally Israel.
The Jewish communities he encounters are fascinating and probably deserve a book by their own right. From the community in Bosnia who is there to help all, to the one in Cuba where many join just for the material benefits. There are fascinating descriptions of communities which come together through struggle and hardship, only to build a better place for themselves and their neighbors.
Along the way Mr. London's inner struggle of his religious identity, traditions and his connection to Zion is a constant subtext in these stories. The author makes some personal and observational insights - some illuminating and some superficial as well as displaying a range of emotions towards Zionism - from understanding to hostility.
I always said that one's moral compass is in direct relationship with their distance from the problem. At one point Mr. London proves me right.
I found this book to very interesting, not so much from a historical angle but from the personal and intimate journey of discovery that the author makes along the way.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this book. London's investigation really gets at the questions which tie Jews to Israel and whether those ties are permanent or sensitive.Published on December 1, 2012 by Natalie R. Robin
This book describes the author's travels to numerous small Jewish communities around the world (as well as a visit to Israel at the end). Read morePublished on July 26, 2010 by Michael Lewyn