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As we head into the coldest months of the year, I have been stocking up on my winter essentials: my favorite tea, a parka, Netflix — I still haven’t seen Making a Murderer — and, most importantly, a stack of books to curl up with. Luckily, I have the suggestions on J Street’s Recommended Winter Reading List to counter-balance that Netflix subscription. I am always looking for great book suggestions, and if this sounds like you too, there are some fantastic new additions to the list this winter. Here are a few of the new books from the list I’m looking forward to reading:
First up for me is Dan Ephron’s Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and the Remaking of Israel. At the end of 2015 we observed the 20 year anniversary of Rabin’s assassination, and with the current Israeli government, those twenty years feel like a lifetime ago. As we reflect on the enduring legacy of Rabin’s life, there is a nostalgia for a time when the Israeli government was made up of more than just one-staters and two-staters in name only.
In recent months, I have watched with fury as forces from the far right of the Israeli political arena attempt to chip away at the democratic values I cherish. As I sat in the Knesset last November, listening to our friends and allies discuss their efforts to stem the wave of undemocratic legislation, I was livid. How can this country — the realization of the two millenia-long dream of the Jewish people have gone so far astray? In The Rise of the Israeli Right: From Odessa to Hebron, Colin Shindler tries to answer this question by tracing the Israeli right’s rise to power from the birth of Zionism in nineteenth century Odessa to today’s Hebron, a center of radical Jewish nationalism.
If you’re like me, and didn’t have the opportunity to catch Roger Cohen’s speaking tour for J Street this fall, you can still check out his new book The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family. In this memoir the award-winning New York Times columnist tracks his family’s story of upheaval, from nineteenth century Lithuania to South Africa, and then to England, the United States and Israel.
Finally, while it’s not out yet, I’m looking forward to reading Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel by Dov Waxman when it comes out in April. It sounds like it’s going to be a really interesting analysis of the American Jewish community’s changing relationship with Israel.
Stay tuned as I review some of the books from this list.