Not willing to cede the great tradition either to religious fundamentalists or to completely secularized Jews, Hertzberg's life is a window onto the forces that have buffeted and strengthened Jews in this last century. His compelling story, peopled with the likes of Henry Kissinger, Golda Meir, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, is a microcosm of ...
Not willing to cede the great tradition either to religious fundamentalists or to completely secularized Jews, Hertzberg's life is a window onto the forces that have buffeted and strengthened Jews in this last century. His compelling story, peopled with the likes of Henry Kissinger, Golda Meir, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, is a microcosm of the history of American Jews and their search for a meaningful identity.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-09-03 This engrossing memoir by a leading American rabbi, an activist and historian, now in his 80s, who has been central to American political life, is a testament to the power of joining faith and political vision. "[T]he saving grace of times gone mad is the lonely person who keeps his sanity," Hertzberg (The Jews in America, etc.) was told as a child by his Orthodox father. Hertzberg's life was not a typical immigrant search for America ("My experience points away from assimilation and the melting pot," he writes). Charting his acute sense of difference from others because of his Orthodox life as a boy in Youngstown, Ohio, Hertzberg also speaks of this as liberation-"I never identified... the ghetto with backwardness." He uses this lens to view his life of thinking, action and resistance-his years studying to become a rabbi, his work to help Jewish war refugees relocate to Israel, his years in the civil rights movement and as a chaplain in the air force, and his continued work as a political critic and public intellectual. One wishes, at times, that Hertzberg might supply more context and less personal detail. When he is at his best, he maintains his steady political vision of faith tempered by tolerance ("The lasting danger to humanity is the uncompromising defender of the faith-any faith") and criticizes the Jewish urge to assimilate into "self-indulgent" consumerist U.S. culture. Readers may find much to disagree with here, but there is also much that will enlighten them. B&w photos. (Nov.) Forecast: This seems a bit steeply priced, but that may not deter Hertzberg's many admirers in the Jewish community. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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