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Scattered Tribe: Traveling The Diaspora From Cuba To India To Tahiti & Beyond Paperback – October 18, 2011
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"Ben Frank provides a fascinating, varied account of modern Jewish life across the globe. I learned something new on every page, and enjoyed the book immensely."
––Martin Fletcher, former NBC News Middle East correspondent and Tel Aviv Bureau chief, is the author of Walking Israel: A Personal Search for the Soul of a Nation, Breaking News, and The List.
“Whenever Ben Frank writes a new book on the pulsating and multi-dimensional Jewish world, it’s cause for celebration. The Scattered Tribe proves the point yet again. Bravo!”
––David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee
"A fascinating ode to a resilient people. Ben Frank reveals the road less traveled, following members of "the tribe" who have made lives for themselves in some of the most surprising and far-flung places around the globe."
––Pat Farnack, WCBS Radio
“Ben Frank’s guides transcend the genre of travel books that crowd bookcases with facts and figures…his books have emerged as deep insights into places, cultures, histories through the voices of those who live there––stewards of tradition, caretakers of the present and the future. His interviews weave Jewish communities––who share concerns and joys common to many of us into the global community thus shrinking the distance among all travelers…”
––Maria Lisella, author of Amore on Hope Street and Two Naked Feet, contributor to FOXNews.com and other travel outlets
"Once again we are in Ben Frank's debt, as he takes us with him on his travels around today's changing and challenging Jewish world. The Scattered Tribe is filled with wonderful tales of past, present, and future, together with fascinating research and practical information, we are swept along on the trip of a lifetime through Russia, Siberia and the Far East, Tahiti, Ho Chi Minh City and Myanmar, India and North Africa, Cuba, and finally, a nostalgic return to Israel. Ben finds Jews and Jewish history everywhere. Ultimately, it is a grand essay about worldwide Jewish identity today, and leaves one ready to depart with him on his next journey––to wherever! Whether you like to travel or stay-at-home, it is not to be missed."
––Rabbi Jonathan Porath, Jerusalem, former member of the JDC Russian Department Senior Staff
From the Back Cover
those who journey to diverse and mystic lands.
The Scattered Tribe is an odyssey—a road map of travel and adventure set in many exotic locales. Both active and armchair travelers and lovers of history, politics, and government will find this book fascinating.
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Top customer reviews
I suspect the author was surprised when he sat down to write his book at how little material he had collected about Jewish life among the scattered tribes.
For the author has taken on to write about a subject---remote Jewish communities that often have neither Jews nor Jewish life.
Rather, the book reads like a diary of a synagogue vice president whose hobby is visiting remote Jewish communities and later delivering a presentation with slides to his men's club on Sunday morning. And as long as they serve brunch, there will be a good turnout for his talk.
We learn that he spends some time in Russia and meets with officials in some communities. The story quickly evolves into one in which the organized Jewish community is seeking to revive a dead community with minimal luck, though they deliver meals to the poor and elderly and a few children go to a Jewish school.
In Russia we know that very little thrives, especially near-dead Jewish communities. So the writer has very little to write about in Russia.
This becomes the pattern in his book as he travels to other communities in Asia, because there are virtually no Jews.
And when he writes about the wonderful work of Chabad, it is simply a rewriting of the same story-line from one city to the next.
Faced with the fact that he cannot deliver what is promised in the book's title, he instead fleshes out the book with too much about his travels through Russia and Asia. (Perhaps ten or fifteen percent of the book is about Jewish communities.) And this reads like a travelogue in a community newspaper.
We do learn from the author about where to shop in some cities, that he has an eye for young women, and instead of footnoting, he repeatedly informs us that he is well-read.
From what I have so far read, the book does not live up to its title and is certainly not worth whatever is paid for it.
sites well-covered in any travel book or travel write-up. Ben Frank's new book does precisely that, providing insights into the culture of
these exotic and remote Jewish communities. His historical perspectives and musings and his personal impressions bring me into this world
with him, as I sit in my armchair and he guides me through these communities. I had visited a couple of these countries in years
gone by - and wish I had read the book first; I missed out on some fascinating spots and communities.
This travel memoir has awakened my desire to go back and retrace his steps.
Along the way, Ben connects the reader with earlier authors and shares their impressions of places from "from Cuba to India to Tahiti and Beyond"; teaches a little history and geography at the same time as he interprets Jewish customs and traditions.
If you can't follow in Ben Frank's footsteps, you will want at least to share his revelations!