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About Daniel Gordis
Gordis' writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, The New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Azure, Commentary and Foreign Affairs, and his books have received numerous awards. He won the National Jewish Book Award for Saving Israel, and two of his books were Finalists for the National Jewish Book Award.
Gordis' newest book is a history of the State of Israel entitled ISRAEL: A CONCISE HISTORY OF A NATION REBORN. Ambassador Dennis Ross, reflecting on the book, wrote, "When I am asked 'Is there one book to read about Israel?' I now have an answer." Ari Shavit wrote, "Like Israel itself, Daniel Gordis's Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn is audacious, intensive and unique." Yossi Klein HaLevi wrote, "Daniel Gordis has written a luminous history .... Gordis gives us the soul of Israel, and helps explain why the most hated country on the planet is also among the most beloved."
Professor Alan Dershowitz has called Gordis "one of Israel's most thoughtful observers." The Forward has called him "one of the most respected Israel analysts around." In 2014, the Jerusalem Post listed him as one of the world's 50 most influential Jews, while Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic has written, "If you asked me, 'of all the people you know, who cares the most about the physical, moral and spiritual health of Israel?' I would put the commentator and scholar Daniel Gordis at the top of the list."
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Winner of the Jewish Book of the Year Award
The first comprehensive yet accessible history of the state of Israel from its inception to present day, from Daniel Gordis, "one of the most respected Israel analysts" (The Forward) living and writing in Jerusalem.
Israel is a tiny state, and yet it has captured the world’s attention, aroused its imagination, and lately, been the object of its opprobrium. Why does such a small country speak to so many global concerns? More pressingly: Why does Israel make the decisions it does? And what lies in its future?
We cannot answer these questions until we understand Israel’s people and the questions and conflicts, the hopes and desires, that have animated their conversations and actions. Though Israel’s history is rife with conflict, these conflicts do not fully communicate the spirit of Israel and its people: they give short shrift to the dream that gave birth to the state, and to the vision for the Jewish people that was at its core. Guiding us through the milestones of Israeli history, Gordis relays the drama of the Jewish people’s story and the creation of the state. Clear-eyed and erudite, he illustrates how Israel became a cultural, economic and military powerhouse—but also explains where Israel made grave mistakes and traces the long history of Israel’s deepening isolation.
With Israel, public intellectual Daniel Gordis offers us a brief but thorough account of the cultural, economic, and political history of this complex nation, from its beginnings to the present. Accessible, levelheaded, and rigorous, Israel sheds light on the Israel’s past so we can understand its future. The result is a vivid portrait of a people, and a nation, reborn.
From National Jewish Book Award Winner and author of Israel, a bold reevaluation of the tensions between American and Israeli Jews that reimagines the past, present, and future of Jewish life
Relations between the American Jewish community and Israel are at an all-time nadir. Since Israel’s founding seventy years ago, particularly as memory of the Holocaust and of Israel’s early vulnerability has receded, the divide has grown only wider. Most explanations pin the blame on Israel’s handling of its conflict with the Palestinians, Israel’s attitude toward non-Orthodox Judaism, and Israel’s dismissive attitude toward American Jews in general. In short, the cause for the rupture is not what Israel is; it’s what Israel does.
These explanations tell only half the story. We Stand Divided examines the history of the troubled relationship, showing that from the outset, the founders of what are now the world’s two largest Jewish communities were responding to different threats and opportunities, and had very different ideas of how to guarantee a Jewish future.
With an even hand, Daniel Gordis takes us beyond the headlines and explains how Israel and America have fundamentally different ideas about issues ranging from democracy and history to religion and identity. He argues that as a first step to healing the breach, the two communities must acknowledge and discuss their profound differences and moral commitments. Only then can they forge a path forward, together.
The Jewish State must end, say its enemies, from intellectuals like Tony Judt to hate-filled demagogues like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even average Israelis are wondering if they wouldn't be better off somewhere else and whether they ought to persevere. Daniel Gordis is confident his fellow Jews can renew their faith in the cause, and in Saving Israel, he outlines how.
- 2009 National Jewish Book Award winner
- Addresses the most pressing issues faced by Israel-and American Jews-today, without recycling the same old arguments
- Lays to rest some of the most pernicious myths about Israel, including: Jews could thrive without Israel; Israeli Arabs just want equality, and Palestinians just want their own state; peace will come, if Israel will just do the right things
- "Morally powerful . . . from a writer whose reflections are consistently as intellectually impressive as they are moving. . . . Gordis addresses the exigencies of our time with the urgency they overridingly demand, and with the depth of feeling they inspire."-Cynthia Ozick
Gordis has written many popular personal essays and memoirs in the past, but Saving Israel is a full-throated call to arms. Never has the case for defending-no, celebrating-the existence of Israel been so clear, so passionate, or so worthy of wholehearted support.
Israel's critics in the West insist that no country founded on a single religion or culture can stay democratic and prosperousbut they're wrong. In The Promise of Israel, Daniel Gordis points out that Israel has defied that conventional wisdom. It has provided its citizens infinitely greater liberty and prosperity than anyone expected, faring far better than any other young nation. Israel's "magic" is a unique blend of democracy and tradition, of unabashed particularism coupled to intellectual and cultural openness. Given Israel's success, it would make sense for many other countries, from Rwanda to Afghanistan and even Iran, to look at how they've done it. In fact, rather than seeking to destroy Israel, the Palestinians would serve their own best interests by trying to copy it.
- Takes many of the most compelling arguments against Israel and turns them completely on their heads, undoing liberals with a more liberal argument and the religious with a more devout argument
- Puts forth an idea that is as convincing as it is shockingthat Iran's clerics and the Taliban should want to be more like Israel
- Written by Daniel Gordis, the author of the National Jewish Book Award winner, Saving Israel
- Daniel Gordis has been called "one of Israel's most thoughtful observers" (Alan Dershowitz) and "a writer whose reflections are consistently as intellectually impressive as they are moving" (Cynthia Ozick)
Certain to generate controversy and debate, The Promise of Israel is one of the most interesting and original books about Israel in years.
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.
"Interesting conversation is Israel's most ingratiating commodity, and this is an especially interesting one. To read Coming Together, Coming Apart is to be engaged in an ongoing dialogue with one of Israel's most thoughtful observers--an American who made Israel his home, despite its imperfections and dangers. Gordis's conversational narrative is irresistible."
--Alan dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel
"Whether describing a walk through Jerusalem in snow, a hike in the desert, or a farewell family drive to the Gaza settlements, Gordis manages to capture the essential details that tell us the larger meaning of our Israeli lives. There is much irony in this book, and also anger, especially against those who unfairly judge Israel in its most desperate and noble times. Most of all, though, this book is the chronicle of a love story--of an immigrant family in Jerusalem falling in love with Israel and, through that love, discovering the strength to cope with life on the front lines of a jihadist war. As a fellow Jerusalemite, I feel a profound debt to Gordis for explaining what it means to raise a family in the middle of a terror zone, and the courage that average Israelis instinctively display in maintaining the pretense of normal life. Those of us who share his passion are fortunate to be so well represented by this book."
--Yossi Klein Halevi, Foreign Correspondent, The New Republic
Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his 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, Home to Stay 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. This is must reading for anyone who wants to get a firsthand, personal view of what it’s like for a family on the front lines of war.