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Issues of the Day At the Jewish Book Council’s Meet the Author Event

I was in very distinguished company last week when I participated in the Jewish Book Council's Meet the Author event in Manhattan. The other authors who presented their work before a packed room full of book enthusiasts from throughout the US had crafted works on diverse subjects. The stories behind their works were often captivating and nearly all were of interest.

The Jewish Book Council has an admirable record of supporting fine literature. I felt privileged to have taken part in the event where I presented my work, Rise, A Novel of Contemporary Israel. In my remarks I related that I began writing Rise in the mid 1980s, shortly after immigrating to Israel. I drafted the work in response to worrisome trends in the society. I placed the book aside for more than two decades until, several years ago, I realized that the tendencies that had concerned me when I had arrived here had begun to threaten us. As a proud Jew and Israeli, as a writer and educator and especially as a father I felt that the time had come to give voice to my concerns and to offer a vision of a different Israel.


American Jews face a stark choice in their relationship with Israel. The leaders of major Jewish organizations suggest that fidelity to Israel’s cause requires defending the positions of its government. For many American Jews, as for many, perhaps most Israelis, the policies of the current Israeli government seem to contravene Israel’s long-term interests. Marching in lockstep with a misconceived government program is anathema to many for whom Israel’s welfare is of central concern.


As I told those in attendance at the Jewish Book Council event, Rise is the story of committed Israelis deeply concerned about the future. They seek to redeem their country and with it the soul of our people.

My most fervent hope is that Rise might offer readers insight into what Israel is today while restoring faith in what we could be, and in this way contribute to an Israel that will continue vibrantly and with wellbeing into the future. 

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved