Israel Through the Jewish-American Imagination: A Survey of by Andrew Furman

By Andrew Furman

Studying a wide range of Jewish-American fiction on Israel, Andrew Furman explores the evolving courting among the Israeli and American Jew. He devotes person chapters to 8 Jewish-American writers who've "imagined" Israel considerably in a single of extra in their works. In doing so, he gauges the effect of the Jewish kingdom in forging the id of the yankee Jewish neighborhood and the imaginative and prescient of the Jewish-American author.

Furman devotes person chapters to Meyer Levin, Leon Uris, Saul Bellow, Hugh Nissenson, Chaim Potok, Philip Roth, Anne Roiphe, and Tova Reich. To chart the evolution of the Jewish-American dating with Israel from pre-statehood until eventually the current, he considers works from 1928 to 1995, studying them of their historic and political contexts. The writers Furman examines handle the vital matters that have associated and divided the yank and Israeli Jewish groups: the function of Israel as either refuge and non secular middle for Jews in all places pitted opposed to its secularism, militarism, and entrenched sexism.

While the writers Furman examines depict contrasting pictures of the center East, the very endurance of Israel in occupying that mind's eye finds, notably, how favourite a task Israel performed and keeps to play in shaping the Jewish-American identification.

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Extra info for Israel Through the Jewish-American Imagination: A Survey of Jewish-American Literature on Israel, 1928-1995

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That said, I would argue that the strength of Yehuda does not lie in its melodrama, but in Levin's perspicacious dramatization of the problems that beset the very first Israeli kibbutzim and continue to plague the increasingly unpopular kibbutz system today. To Levin's credit, several details of novel do not support the affirmative ending above. First, several episodes in the novel indicate that the socialist ideals of a kibbutz cannot be so easily reconciled with individualist aspira- 28 ISRAEL THROUGH THE JEWISH-AMERICAN IMAGINATION tions.

Erase the past? Begin afresh? Just as David suspects that the Italian fishing boat will always be an Italian fish- 36 ISRAEL THROUGH THE JEWISH-AMERICAN IMAGINATION ing boat, one suspects that Holocaust survivors, like David, will not be able to eschew their past as easily as they can shed their names. Despite the affirmative ending in which Levin insists that such new beginnings are possible, much of the novel suggests otherwise. Levin suggests that Jewish suffering will likely persist as David encounters a group of Jewish children reenacting the biblical Purim story.

Rubin notes, "the fiction that Meyer Levin wrote after 1960 ... does not seem well suited for the sophisticated tastes of the modern reader.... Too much of his later fiction appears to be a statement of the author's view of existence, rather than a rendering of experience" (Rubin 150). Readers interested in The Settlers and The Harvest might consult Rubin's adept treatment of these novels in his recent book. While Levin's later efforts largely fail as fiction, his early fiction on Israel-"Maurie Finds His Medium:' Yehuda, My Father's House, and ''After All I Did For Israel"-manifest themselves today not only as original and courageous, but also as works of extraordinary vision.

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