ReReading Israel Reviews

ReReading Israel NJBA

2012 National Jewish Book Award Finalist winner in the category of Modern Jewish Thought and Experience

Jpost RRI review

The Jerusalem Post Magazine review argues that ReReading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter fuels the current awakening in Israeli society signified by Ruth Calderon’s inaugural address to the Knesset.

ReReading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter is a deeply learned, fluent case for a Zionism that is passionate, faithful and innovative all at once.  Neither stuffy nor superficial, this is a book to ignite those who will carry the Zionist dream into the future.

David J. Wolpe, author, public speaker and rabbi of Sinai Temple (Los Angeles, California). Named the “#1 Pulpit Rabbi in America” by Newsweek magazine (2008), he is considered a leader of the Conservative Jewish movement. Wolpe was named one of The Forward’s Forward 50, and one of the hundred most influential people in Los Angeles by Los Angeles magazine.

Wow! This is a beautiful and profound book. Using a symphony of sources, expertly traveling between modern Western concepts and traditional Jewish texts, Bonna Devora Haberman brings new dimensions to our understanding of and appreciation for Zionism. Showing how Zionism resolves tensions like the mind-body duality helps us see Zionism as it is – far beyond the headlines – a healing project for the Jewish people and humanity.

Professor Gil Troy, McGill University, author Why I am a Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today

Bonna Devora Haberman’s highly original book examines modern Israel — its achievements and its travails — through the prism of the religious texts and traditions that sustained the Jewish nation in exile. At once brisk and spiritual, ReReading Israel finds inspiration in those sources for the construction of a mature, fulfilled Jewish nation-state.

David Horovitz, founding editor of the online newspaper The Times of Israel, previously the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post

Haberman has written a wonderful book.

It is a book which is really a combina­tion—a text book, a history, an autobiography and a teacher/discussion guide.

The title tells you everything. The beauty of the book comes to life as you actually start following the direction of this work and pore through the material, because that is when you begin to engage with the author.

Rereading Israel: The Spirit of the Matter is filled with original documents and texts supplemented by footnotes which are an enormous help in further understanding the material and directing the reader towards works about the topics under discussion.

Seldom does an author successfully draw the reader into a real dialogue. Haberman has a point of view, she does not hide her bias. She is unabashedly pro-Israel and is extremely proud of the many exciting contributions Israel has made.

The author chooses topics that help the reader grapple with Zionism and Israel. Her objective is to engage the reader and elevate the discussion beyond the simple and profane and on to a level of profound understanding.

The book is full of Mishna and Gemarah, Midrash and Rabbinical thought. It draws on the Bible and the great historians of the ancient and modern world. The most powerful parts of the book come when the author uses personal stories to elucidate her points. The most useful parts of the book to her readers come through her use of classical Jewish texts.


Review for Jewish Book Council by Micah D. Halpern

Revisiting the meaning of ‘Jewish’ in the context of the state of Israel, this book exorcises some of the demons that have branded Zionism as racism. Much more than that, it restores to the Jewish character of Israel its linguistic and cultural heritage, creating a basis for the thriving of Jewish diversity, religious and secular from Europe or from Africa, and inclusion of Arabs and non-Jewish others, within a national Hebrew culture.

Frances Raday, Director, Concord Center for Integration of International Law in Israel and Head of the School’s Graduate Programs, Prof. Emeritus of the Elias Lieberman Chair in Labour Law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem


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