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The Lemon Tree Paperback – February 3, 2005

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ida Rosenfeld has traveled extensively and has lived in Siberia, France, and Israel. She passed away some years ago.

Ilil Arbel is the author of Maimonides: A Spiritual Biography and other books. She earned a doctorate in mythology and folklore and contributes to the award-winning Encyclopedia Mythica. Ilil has lived and studied in Tel-Aviv, Paris, and New York, and currently resides in Manhattan.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (February 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595339824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595339822
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,934,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ilil Arbel is the author of a number of books, including biographies, memoirs, novels, mythology/folklore, and metaphysics. Her short stories and folktales have been published by Encyclopedia Mythica, Amazon.com Shorts, and Mountain Muse. She has contributed numerous articles on the subjects of natural history, personal histories, biography, health, education, social commentaries, and Judaic myths to many publications. Arbel has a Ph.D. in the field of mythology and folklore. She has lived and studied in Tel Aviv, Paris, and New York, and currently resides in Manhattan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Fawn on May 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Lemon Tree is not just another biography. It reads like a novel, where you enter a rich, full world through the eyes of the narrator, yet this world had really existed out there in the past. You can feel almost as though you have become part of it, and all the characters, places and events come alive.

The travels and tribulations of the pioneer family are told from a very unique point of view, that of a sensitive little girl. The girl is aware of what is happening through all her senses, and you can actually feel what it was like to go through all these experiences. Look, for example, how she describes the dangerous moment of reaching the Manchurian border: "We were received by a very tall woman, dressed entirely in black. She even wore a black fur hat, like hats of the Cossacks. Over her forehead peeked a few gray hairs and her face was wrinkled, not with friendly laugh lines around the eyes, but with vicious lines, pointing down around her mouth. She smelled of mildew, and reminded me of Baba Yaga, the horrible witch that ate little children in the Russian fairy tales." You can see, smell and feel how the scary world of real events was!

This book presents a very interesting point of view of a family of pioneers, hardened by all the hardships they went through, yet still warm and loving, not blinded by their idealism.

This is the kind of material that was missing when I learned history. I should have had access not only to dates and events, but to the experience of real people who lived in these periods.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susan Prudhomme on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Lemon Tree is many books rolled into a mere eighty-seven pages: true-life thrilling adventure; saga of a family's love and courage; window into a time and culture now largely lost; engrossing first-person historical account. All is told from the perspective of an innocent child, letting the reader imagine the staggering fears and dreams of the parents.

The Wissotzky's, a Jewish family living in semi-exile in Siberia shortly after the Russian Revolution, suffer the loss of their oldest child - and then find themselves once more a political target. They undertake a desperate journey full of danger and great hardship to reach Palestine, their longed-for promised land. Through the poignantly simple observations of seven-year-old Ida, we experience months in a vermin-infested cattle car, the terrors of police inspections that might well lead to being summarily shot, the fairy-tale enchantment of Shanghai and the cruel dashing of hope by an Egyptian bureaucracy.

Finally arriving in Tel Aviv, the Wissotzky's join a Jewish settlement of refugees who have lost everything in a material sense, but are amazingly rich in education, culture and the joys of family and community. It must have seemed like Paradise to them, and indeed, it sounds so to me as well.

This little book can be read very quickly, but its story will stay with the reader as a testament to the worth of family, community, and of daring to follow a dream.

Susan Prudhomme
Author of The Wisdom of Ambrose
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet.IndieGoPublishing on November 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Lemon Tree is a wonderful, pleasant recollection of the early memories of Ida Rosenfeld, specifically of her warm, loving family's happy life in Siberia until pain enters it through the death of her brother Sasha. His life was never quite extinguished, though, because he had planted a lemon seed that he'd plucked out of his warm tea, and his family lovingly and faithfully nurtured it as the best representation of their faith and hope. The time came when they had to leave their happy life in Siberia and set out as a pioneering family bound for Israel, a destination they had longed for, but getting there was an arduous and sometimes frightening experience. But children are often blessed with the ability to see delight in even the greatest struggles, and it is through Ida's eight-year-old eyes that we see the wonder of Shanghai during the month they stopped over there, and then their new hometown, Tel Aviv, Israel.

When they get settled in, the family plants the little lemon tree, and it becomes a symbol of all their hope, determination, and dreams fulfilled. This book left me wanting to know more of Ida's story, especially as she becomes a teenager and young woman, and goes off to university in France where she will meet her future husband. I especially loved all the rich details in the descriptions of Tel Aviv when it was still a small town in the early 1920s. It made me want to just pack my bags and go there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pandorasecho on February 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Recently I have been drawn into several books, only to find that they are all from the same general time period and so, I've just relaxed and enjoyed the books that seem to be coming my way about the turn of the last century. The Lemon Tree is told in the voice of one girl, and we join her family for a frightening journey to a place where they hope to built a new life and a new country, where even having paper money on your person could earn you a bullet to the back of the head. We see a life of tragedy and sorrow and richness melted away into poverty and yet, we see humor and love and a joy in life. There are a lot of old family pictures, and the book itself is short. I wished for more, but enjoyed every word of this well written, fascinating glimpse into the life of a family moving forward in terror toward a Hope that they can only half believe in. The Lemon Tree itself becomes one of the most compelling elements of the story, as you really care what happens to tis young, green seedling which encompasses something so much bigger than itself.

There is a tone to this story that reminds me of another novel, strangely enough, one with a tree in its title as well, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. There is a gritty, poverty and a real world feel, faced with darkness though, there is life, family, love and hope. Read it and like me, you'll wish it were a longer book, but you will be glad you read it.
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