If a Place Can Make You Cry: Dispatches from an Anxious State

If a Place Can Make You Cry: Dispatches from an Anxious State

by Daniel Gordis

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Overview

In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, during which time Daniel would be a Fellow at the Mandel Institute in Jerusalem. This was a euphoric time in Israel. The economy was booming, and peace seemed virtually guaranteed. A few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Israel permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace.

Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his and his family’s life to friends and family abroad. These missives—passionate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and informative—began reaching a much broader readership than he’d ever envisioned, eventually being excerpted in The New York Times Magazine to much acclaim. An edited and finely crafted collection of his original e-mails, If a Place Can Make You Cry is a first-person, immediate account of Israel’s post-Oslo meltdown that
cuts through the rhetoric and stridency of most dispatches from that country or from the international media.

Above all, Gordis tells the story of a family that must cope with the sudden realization that they took their children from a serene and secure neighborhood in Los Angeles to an Israel not at peace but mired in war. This is the chronicle of a loss of innocence—the innocence of Daniel and his wife, and of their children. Ultimately, through Gordis’s eyes, Israel, with all its beauty, madness, violence, and history, comes to life in a way we’ve never quite seen before.

Daniel Gordis captures as no one has the years leading up to what every Israeli dreaded: on April 1, 2002, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that Israel was at war. After an almost endless cycle of suicide bombings and harsh retaliation, any remaining chance for peace had seemingly died.

If a Place Can Make You Cry is the story of a time in which peace gave way to war, when childhood innocence evaporated in the heat of hatred, when it became difficult even to hope. Like countless other Israeli parents, Gordis and his wife struggled to make their children’s lives manageable and meaningful, despite it all. This is a book about what their children gained, what they lost, and how, in the midst of everything, a whole family learned time and again what really matters.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400049547
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/15/2002
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 592,160
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Daniel Gordis is the director of the Mandel Foundation’s Jerusalem Fellows Program. He was previously a vice president at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and dean of its Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. He is the author of three previous books: Becoming a Jewish Parent (Harmony, 1999), Does the World Need the Jews? (Scribner, 1997), and God Was Not in the Fire (Scribner, 1995).

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If a Place Can Make You Cry: Dispatches from an Anxious State 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book and could not put it down. Gordis's style is so surprisingly engaging that you feel like you are reading letters from a friend. As a parent, I was moved to tears by his observations about his children and his struggle to make them (and maybe himself) understand why he and his wife have chosen to live in this place in this difficult time. If you want to understand what's going on in Israel -- and what has gone on for the past several years -- you will find no better, more readable source. Gordis writes with clarity, depth, and deep perceptiveness (and sometimes wry humor) about day-to-day life in Israel. And though he clearly has strong political feelings, his analysis defies political boundaries. More than anything, he seems perplexed and deeply troubled by the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but at the same time he makes a moving case for why Israel is so important in the first place. A reading experience you won't soon forget.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Jewish American family goes to Israel for a yearlong visit and decides to stay, just as Israeli and Palestinian relations begin to deteriorate. Will the family stay? Should they stay? They must; "it is our home." Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago