- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (December 27, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312315155
- ISBN-13: 978-0312315153
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Aliya: Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
As a 10-year-old Israeli, Leibovitz thought his American cousins had it all: freedom, prosperity and McDonald's. So he was shocked to learn that his cousins were abandoning their New Jersey "oasis" for the blood-soaked land of Israel. The question of why anyone would make such a move haunted his journey to adulthood, and now he attempts to explain this phenomenon, known in Hebrew as aliya, of diaspora Jews leaving comfortable homes to immigrate to Israel. He concludes that the answer "simply isn't available to the cognitive faculties. It must be felt." Journalist Leibovitz follows the tear-stained stories of several immigrants. Marlin and Betty Levin came as a young couple in 1947, before the state of Israel was even established; Brooklyn-raised Mike Ginsberg arrived in 1969 and participated in the Yom Kippur War; the Kalkers, a family of four, made aliya in 2001, during the turbulent second intifada. With a flair for storytelling, Leibovitz richly illustrates these lives, deftly detailing their emotional journey from carefree Americans to proud Israelis. For readers and for Leibovitz himself, whose life path took him, conversely, from Israel to America, the book is a powerful reminder of the unique yearning that has defined and united Jews through a 2000-year exile.
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Top customer reviews
Approaching the subject from the standpoint that all American Jews are wealthy the author seems to have a prejudiced view in the sense that he neither understands the religious attachment to Israel or the fact that many American Jewish immigrants are not from wealthy backgrounds and plenty of them do not have good jobs or 'comfortable' homes in the U.S. Nevertheless this is an interesting exploration of these people's lives and what made them 'give up the U.S' for Israel. What is missing is some sort of context, some sort of general history of American immigration to Israel and some sort of exploration of the way in which Americans have influenced Israel (perhaps a nod towards Golda Meir, Rabbi Meir Kahane, Stanley Fischer and Mickey Marcus would have been worthwhile). It is interesting to explore immigration and Israel from the standpoint of just a few people, but one cannot understand waves of immigration this way. One Mexican does not tell the story of 40 million Mexican-Americans. A half dozen American Jews do not tell the story of tens of thousands of American Jewish immigrants to Israel, where they have lived, how they have coped, what they have achived and if they have failed.
Much more could have been included and apparently the subject of American Aliya is still waiting its historian. Nevertheless this remains a nice book that many with interest in the subject will enjoy.
Seth J. Frantzman
Leibovitz tells of a couple from "The Greatest Generation", a Baby Boomer, and a family with young children. He lets his subjects tell their stories, warts and all. They are stories of passion, and idealism, and of frustration and heartbreak. They illustrate the clarion call the Holy Land still sends to a people that has endured millennia in exile, to return home.
Interestingly, these new Israelis don't leave their American heritage behind. During an Israel Independence Day barbecue the participants observe that their celebration in May feels a great deal like the Fourth of July. Some habits die hard.