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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2004
I wish there were words to describe how great this book was. It is so hard to find a book about everyday Israeli life. In fact, is there? I saw Rabbi Gordis speak in NYC in 2004, and bought the book after his great speech. When you read this book, you feel like you are actually living in Israel. He describes every emotion he and his family is going through, the good and the bad. He is a great observer of human nature, and good writer. A must read for those you yearn to learn about contemporary life in Israel
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent real story with extreme passion, love and deep understanding. A MUST READ for everyone.
The Jewish State for the Jews, a people so scarified, so much exterminated all over the centuries, in Europe and especially in the Arab world, world that by the beginning of the 20th century decided to exterminate, destroy and kill every single Jews in their countries, destroying as a result communities of 2500 years, reason why these Jews came to Israel our beloved land and home.
Bravo for Daniel Gordis.
BRAVISSIMO !!!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
I've read hundreds of books on Israel -- internal politics, religious strife, relationships with Palestinians, with neighbors in the Mid-East, with American Jews, with the US Congress, etc. This book covers these same issues, less academically but with a human face. The good and the bad. Gordis writes with passion, but not an agenda. An excellent read for anyone who cares about Israel, especially if you have ever considered living there -- or want to better understand why so many Jews have exchanged the security and prosperity they had in the diaspora for life in the Holy Land.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2004
If you read only one book about contemporary Israel, make it this moving, compelling account. Gordis is a gifted scribe and a keen observer and the story of his family's life in Jerusalem reads more like a novel than a mere memoir or journal. He brings to the task an incredible depth of knowledge of Jewish and Israeli history, but what is most striking is his devotion as a parent and how candid he is about his struggles, both internal and external. Even if he were just sharing his observations, it would be a fine read, but Gordis's real talent is finding connections between things: between past and present; between global politics and his own dinner table; between ancient texts and today's headlines. Those often brilliant and surprising associations are what lift this book to the level of literature and make reading it such a pleasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2004
Rabbi Gordis writes with warmth, passion and knowledge. With this book as with his previous books, you become a family member. You laugh, you cry and you break bread. He is an inspiration to all who read his books and follow his journals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2004
Began as e-mails back home to family, this book's strength is the description of day-to-day life in Israel through good times and bad. For the book, Gordis intersperses the letters with political commentary to give some context to the letters' time of writing. More personal than David Horovitz' A Little Too Close to God, it is similar in bringing the political and personal together as a family debates the wisdom of staying in Israel when the peace process goes bad. You will get drawn into experiencing the emotions and ambivalences the Gordis parents and children have about their life. Very readable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2004
Home to Stay is a must-read for anyone interested in Israel. It's a moving account of one American family's move to Israel, beautifully written. Rabbi Gordis has a gift for selecting a telling anecdote about family life or a personal observation and relating it to the broader panorama of life in Israel today. I also enthusiatically recommend Rabbi Gordis' previous books, especially "If a Place can make you cry...".
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In 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family went to spend his sabbatical year in Jerusalem, where he had been offered a year-long
Fellowship at the Mandel Institute. The family fully intended returning home to Los Angeles at the end of that time. Halfway through the wonderful experience of that year, Daniel's wife, Elisheva, announced that she was staying in Israel, that this was home. It didn't take long for Daniel to agree, and so the decision was made. Peace with the Arabs seemed to be in the offing; hope was strong. So begins this remarkable book.

I have never before read the intimate story of any one family in Israel, let alone a story so detailed, passionate, moving, thoughtful and intellectual as this one by Daniel Gordis. I lived every moment inside the book. He chronicles the pain and horror at the slow realization that there will be no peace, at the repeated bombings and murders, at the slow collapse of Israel's economy between 2000 and 2002, at the realization that Palestinians celebrate each time there are massacres of Jews and Americans, at the actions of some Israeli soldiers... He and his wife question again and again what they might be doing to their children by bringing them to stay in Israel. But, for them, this is home. They are not leaving.

Rabbi Gordis writes very openly, sparing no-one and nothing. He is unequivocal in his criticism of some Israeli actions, of some Israeli people, just as he is unequivocally appalled at Arab violence. He is desolate and hopeful, sad and happy, by turns, and one feels all the emotions together with him. He brings his entire family into the story, so that one gets to know Elisheva,Talia, Avi and Micha, to wonder at the things they feel and say, at their courage, at their amazing ability to adapt to a world of fear, violence and deep hatreds.

The understanding that two peoples, Palestinians and Jews, lay claim to this tiny piece of land is always there; it surfaces repeatedly, together with troubled wondering about whether peace of any kind will ever be achieved. And if so, how
long will his people have to wait... years? Centuries?

Despite the sadness, the desperation, the pain of it all, humour and laughter come often to the rescue, and the love within the close Gordis family shines through everything. it is not ever said in the book, but this love is probably a large part of what keeps them from misery and despair. There is nothing sentimental here; it is all good, solid stuff.

Occasionally the laughter comes at some vividly described scenes. There is one where a group of Jewish Israelis are helping Palestinians harvest olives, to prevent settlers from stealing them. It becomes hilarious, with settlers, dogs, police and soldiers all involved, together with Daniel Gordis busily snapping digital photos of the craziness, while the Palestinians quietly continue their harvesting a short distance away.

I loved this book, and my review is totally inadequate, but I just had to say something. I hope that simply everyone reads it: Jews, Christians, Muslims - everyone. This is a book by a person with a good heart and generous spirit. Sheila McLaren.
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on October 6, 2011
This book opens up to us what it is like to live with the existential crisis Israelis live with every day. Based on Daniel Gordis's emails during the Intifada, he digs deeper and questions everything. I love his writings, his perspective and his sense of purpose. Anything that he writes is worth your attention.
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on October 6, 2014
Love this book. Gordis delivers a very personal side to the Aliyah experience. Makes we want to buy a one way ticket
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