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Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist: An American Story Hardcover – November, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (T); lst ed edition (November 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316498602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316498609
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,327,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Helene Hoffman on December 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a most unique subject matter - I know no other book on it - about a former member of the inner circle of the JDL (Jewish Defense League). On that note, HaLevi offers invaluable information about why he (and others) joined, and their activities. Most poignant is their work on behalf of the Jews in (what was then) the Soviet Union; Halevi and his "friends" not only pulled guerilla theatre-type stunts on traditional Jewish organizations here in the U.S., "commanding" them to help these forgotten Jews, but the JDL also travelled to the Soviet Union to try to "free" the Soviet Jews (it didn't work, however). The other most compelling piece in his book is his writing about being a child of Holocaust Survivors - his father, a Hungarian Jew, hid in the woods for years during WWII and was saved by a kind non-Jew. As my parents are also Holocaust Survivors, I can attest that HaLevi writes incredibly well on his background. He explains his own personal story, how he came to hate Gentiles, and felt that another Holocaust was inevitable. However, when he fell in love with a non-Jewish woman, this part of his life was drastically altered. A remarkable book; you won't find another one like it.
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Format: Hardcover
In this memoir, Yossi Klein Halevi, an American Jew whose father was a Holocaust survivor, grows up in New York in an Orthodox neighborhood and tries to make sense of the world that his father left behind. After the Nazis came to his town, his father hid in a hole for the duration of the war and when it finished, immigrated to America. But whereas other survivors were shattered or in denial, Halevi's father was angry -- angry at the Nazis, angry at American Jewry for their quiescence, and angry at the secular and religious Jews who trusted their neighbors and dismissed Zionism as a fool's errand, even as they went to their deaths. Ever his father's son, Halevi makes those experiences his own and makes it his goal to prevent what happened to his father's neighbors from happening again.

Though Halevi grows up in an Orthodox neighborhood and knows their explanations for the Holocaust (the descendants of Jacob and Esau fighting once more; the new generation rising again to destroy the Jews from the time of Haman), he has little use for his neighbors, who he sees as desperately clinging to the shattered world of Eastern European Jewry and as insular and weak as before the Holocaust. Accordingly, rather than be part of their world, he rebels against it, first by separation from the non-Jewish world, then by student activism for the plight of Soviet Jewry, and finally by joining Meir Kahane's Jewish Defense League. Always in his mind are the Holocaust and his sense that he understands its lessons and is uniquely suited to apply them.

The book honestly grapples with the seductive demagoguery of Kahane and Halevi's journey from a fire-breathing activist to cynic and eventual thug.
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Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate to hear and meet Yossi at a talk in St Louis. I was very impressed with his insight and realism combined with passion for Jewish Life. Since I grew up in Brooklyn and spent a year in Israel, his adventures parallel my own although I was much lower key than Yossi. I am not an extremist. So his book takes me the extra step. This is a very valuable book for anyone who is interested in the Jewish experience.
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By Chaim on September 26, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very powerful b
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By A Customer on August 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
one of the best books i hav ever read.touching and easy to relait to.very good.
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