The Wondering Jew: Israel and the Search for Jewish Identity

Yale Univ. Nov. 2020. 262p. ISBN 9780300252248. $30. REL
Goodman (Kogod Research Ctr. at Shalom Hartman Inst., Jerusalem; Catch 67: The Left, the Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War) examines the long history of disputes within and among religious Jewish factions concerning Jewish identity and the more recent history and sociology of discourse concerning secular and religious Zionism with a view to charting a path for a more tolerant peaceful Israeli society. As he did with Israeli politics in Catch 67, Goodman explores the work of scores of influential religious and secular thinkers concerning the proper role of tradition in Israeli life, seeking less a “middle way” than a passage wide enough for various interpreters to share. Though he does refer to diaspora Judaism, particularly Jews in the United States, Goodman focuses on Jewish identity in Israel, where philosophies and actions of religious and secular Jews have great impact not only on internal politics but on relations with the rest of the world. Goodman sees the willingness of diverse groups to listen to and learn from one another as a positive indication of a future less torn by extremism.
VERDICT This scholarly work will engage readers concerned with the future of a democratic Jewish Israel.
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