We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel

We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel

by Daniel Gordis

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From National Jewish Book Award winner and author of Israel, a bold reevaluation of the tensions between American and Israeli Jews that reinterprets the past and reimagines the future of Jewish life

Relations between the American Jewish community and Israel are at an all-time nadir. Most explanations pin the blame on Israel’s conduct: its handling of the conflict with the Palestinians, its attitude toward non-Orthodox Judaism, and the Jewish state’s dismissive view of American Jews in general. Others point an accusing finger at American Jews, insisting that in embracing America’s progressive values, many American Jews have become more sympathetic to Israel’s enemies than they are to the Jewish state.

But these explanations, Daniel Gordis argues, miss the real causes for the divide. Gordis’s new book, We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel, examines the history of the troubled relationship, showing that from the very outset—even before the state of Israel was created—the two communities’ dreams for a Jewish future had little in common.

American Jews and Israelis built their respective communities to embrace different opportunities and in response to different challenges. Over decades, two radically diverging visions of Jewish life emerged. Thus, Gordis argues, as a first step to healing the breach, the two communities must acknowledge and discuss their profoundly different purposes and moral commitments. Only then can they forge a path forward, together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062873712
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/10/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 158,889
File size: 700 KB

About the Author

Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is a columnist for the Jerusalem Post and Bloomberg View. The author of numerous books on Jewish thought and political currents in Israel, and a winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Dr. Gordis was the founding dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism. He joined Shalem in 2007 to help found Israel’s first liberal arts college, after spending nine years as vice president of the Mandel Foundation in Israel and director of its Leadership Institute. He lives in Jerusalem.

Table of Contents

The Rift

Introduction: "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?" 3

1 A Mistaken Conventional Wisdom 11

2 A Rift Older Than the State Itself 39

The Causes

3 A Particularist Project in a Universalist World 73

4 Idealized Zion Meets the Messiness of History 103

5 People or Religion: Who and What Are the Jews? 135

6 How Naked a Public Square: A Liberal or Ethnic Democracy? 167

The Future

7 Charting a Shared Future-and Why That Matters 199

Conclusion: "Forget Your Perfect Offering" 231

Acknowledgments 247

Notes 255

Index 281

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