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It has never been more important for American Jews to share their feelings and thoughts about Israel, and foster a connection to Israel in the next generation of Jewish and Christian adults. Why not encourage that connection through your book club? Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, one of the Jewish world’s foremost scholars, has gathered reflections from American Jews on what Israel means to them. Presenting a diversity of views, this provocative collection will encourage your group to think about what Israel means, not only to them, but to the future of the global community.

6 x 9, 304 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-415-3   

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Discover what Jewish people in America have to say about Israel—
their voices have never mattered more than they do now.

As anti-Israel sentiment spreads around the world—from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to former President Jimmy Carter—it has never been more important for American Jews to share their feelings and thoughts about Israel, and foster a connection to Israel in the next generation of Jewish and Christian adults.

This inspirational book features the insights of top scholars, business leaders, professionals, politicians, authors, artists, and community and religious leaders covering the entire denominational spectrum of Jewish life in America today—and offers an exciting glimpse into the history of Zionism in America with statements from Jews who saw the movement come to life. Presenting a diversity of views, it will encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to think about what Israel means to them and, in particular, help young adults jump start their own lasting, personal relationship with Israel.

Contributors include:

Marc D. Angel • Bradley Shavit Artson • Samuel Bak • Sharon Brous • Nina Beth Cardin • Shoshana S. Cardin • Steven M. Cohen • Elliot N. Dorff • David Ellenson • Russ Feingold • Sylvia Barack Fishman • Abraham H. Foxman • Debbie Friedman • Jane Friedman • Niles Elliot Goldstein • Harold Grinspoon • Nat Hentoff • Dov Hikind • Peter Himmelman • Esther Jungreis • Karyn D. Kedar • Danny Maseng • Shulamit Reinharz • Thane Rosenbaum • Jonathan D. Sarna • Debbie Wasserman Schultz • Lynn Schusterman • Rami M. Shapiro • Danny Siegel • Aryeh Lev Stollman • David A. Teutsch • Stephen Joel Trachtenberg • Gordon Tucker • Henry A. Waxman • David Wolpe • And many more …

“Bravo to Rabbi Salkin for gathering these impressive personal testimonies. They serve an urgent and vital purpose—reminding us of the nearly four-thousand-year bond between the Jewish People and Israel, and educating us on Israel’s enduring meaning for American Jewry.”

David A. Harris, executive director, American Jewish Committee

“A touching, emotional, funny book.… Every essay touches a nerve in every American Jew who loves Israel. I highly recommend this book as a personal joy to read and to give as a gift to those who ask, ‘Why should I care about Israel?’”

June Walker, chairperson, Conference of Presidents of
Major American Jewish Organizations

“The shared ahavat Yisrael (love for the Land and the People of Israel) uniting the incredible diversity of voices in this important anthology redefines ‘Pro-Israel.’”

Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman, executive director, Rabbis for Human Rights

“Rabbi Salkin and Jewish Lights did it again! Thank you for this inspiring gift for Israel’s 60th! A must for lovers and dreamers of Zion around the world … and a great resource for anyone who explores a contemporary engagement with Israel.”

Rabbi Uri Regev, president, World Union for Progressive Judaism

“A powerful collection of personal testimonies … Christians who care about Christian-Jewish relations need to read this collection in order to understand the inescapable importance of Israel in that relationship. It also helps us understand why church statements and actions against Israel are so painful to Jewish friends.”

David Blewett, national director, National Christian Leadership
Conference for Israel (NCLCI)

“Here are voices from all over the community, from all ages, from all kinds of Jews. Together they show us the how and the why of our profound connection to Israel. This book answers the questions, why do we care so much and why should the fate of this tiny country affect us in America so deeply? The answers are personal and communal and revealing. This is an important book for all those interested in the Jewish people and their incredible story.”

Anne Roiphe, novelist, journalist and author of 13 books

“In this sixtieth year of Israel’s independence, it is incumbent on American Jewry to take a step back to reflect on the meaning of Israel’s existence in our own lives. Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin has done us an immense favor in bringing together such a wide spectrum of writers and thinkers to ponder this question.”

Rabbi Robert R. Golub, executive director, MERCAZ USA,
the Zionist arm of the Conservative Movement

“As Rabbi Nachman of Breslov wrote—‘wherever I travel I go to Israel.’ For me and millions of other Jews—as well as Christians—Israel, both spiritually and existentially, is at the very core of our identities. Wherever we go in life, Israel is on our minds, in our hearts and shaping our ethos. A Dream of Zion does a wonderful job in bringing together a rich variety of paths through which we encounter and relate to Israel, her struggle for peace and security, and the meaning it has for our lives. If you love Israel—both the nation and state—and it vibrates the strings of your neshama, this book is a must read.”

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

“A Dream of Zion is exactly that—filled with miracles and triumph, the joy of coming home, and at the same time, aspiration and hope, that Israel can become the land flowing with justice and righteousness. Sixty years of love can be found on page after page, a worthy testament to the vitality of the dream and of the reality.”

David M. Elcott, PhD, executive director, Israel Policy Forum

“Explores the connection to Israel from many varied perspectives that reflect on the historical, religious, and contemporary underpinnings of this special and unique relationship. You will identify with some, disagree with others, but you are certain to be stimulated to thoughtful reflection on this central aspect of Jewish life.”

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman, Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations

“In this compelling volume one hears the multiplicity of views and emotions American Jews have for Israel. It demonstrates that there is no single American Jewish perspective of Israel. At this time when there are so many misconceptions about American Jewish attitudes towards Israel this book will serve an important purpose.”

Deborah E. Lipstadt, PhD, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and
Holocaust Studies, Emory University

Download the complete A Dream of Zion Teacher's Guide

  • What is one idea in the book that moved you or challenged your thinking?
  • On page 9 Matthew Brooks says, “We carry a responsibility to support Israel and to keep her strong.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? What do you believe are the best ways to support Israel and keep her strong?
  • In what ways does your community show support toward Israel?
  • What kind of tangible acts can Jews outside Israel do to show their loyalty and connection to Israel? Which acts seem most important to you?
  • What is Peninnah Schram saying about our relationship with Israel when she says, “There are countries that have much more magnificent architecture and art than Israel. But Israel is like your mother” (p. 20)? In what ways do you agree with this statement? In what ways do you disagree?
  • What is your opinion of the traditional Jewish idea that those who live outside of Israel are living in exile? To what extent is this idea still relevant today?
  • On page 17 Nina Beth Cardin writes, “I sleep better at night knowing there is not just the Land of Israel, but the sovereign State of Israel, the national homeland of the Jewish people.” In what ways does the State of Israel give Jews greater dignity? What is the difference between the Land of Israel and the “sovereign State of Israel”?
  • Do you agree with Roland B. Gittelsohn’s statement on page 228 that “only the re-establishment of a Jewish State can effectively cure the virus of anti-Semitism, from which we Jews have suffered so grievously”? In what ways has Israel “cured” the virus of anti-Semitism? How has Israel and/or Israel’s actions “created” anti-Semitism?
  • What is the difference between anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and “anti-
  • On page 78 Alvin H. Rosenfeld writes, “Six decades after the founding of their state, the Jews of Israel should not have to argue for the legitimacy of their national existence. They are at home in their land by a long-established right, and they can take justifiable pride in their country’s history and achievements.” What is the “long-established right” that Rosenfeld is describing? Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  • To what extent do you agree with Nat Hentoff’s statement (p. 79) that “what happens to Israel, happens to me”? In what ways, if any, do you take what happens in Israel personally?
  • On page 87 Danny Maseng states, “I cannot imagine my life without Israel and I would not count on the survival of the Jewish people—spiritually, psychologically, or physically—without Israel.” How does Israel inspire you to live with uncertainty and complexities? In what ways does Israel hold deep promise for transformation and renewal?

    “[Israel] reminds me that ... a people can become resurrected from its ashes.”
    Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin (p. 108)

  • How have the Jewish people become “resurrected” through the existence of Israel?
  • At what times in history was it particularly difficult to believe that statement?
  • On page 151 Arthur Green argues that “the essential moral failing of Israel—its inability to deal fairly with the rights and even the full humanity of the other people with whom it shares a homeland—remains deeply troubling.” To what extent do you agree with Green? Which elements of being a Jewish State and being a democracy are inherently in conflict?
  • How is your Jewish identity affected by Israel?

Where did the idea for A Dream of Zion come from?
For a long time I have believed that American Jews need a hizzuk emunah (a strengthening of faith) in the State of Israel, and the sixtieth anniversary of Israel’s creation seemed like a good time to provide that faith strengthening. Originally, I thought about a media campaign in which American Jewish celebrities would talk publicly about their commitment to Israel. Then I realized that while newspapers have a very short life, books tend to last a long time. We needed a book that revealed the depth of American Jewish feelings about Israel—and that’s what we created.

Is there any diversity in the views that A Dream of Zion reflects?
There is a bottom line: every essay reflects the view that Israel should continue as a secure Jewish State. But within that basic framework, there is a real diversity of views from very conservative to very critical. There’s a bumper sticker in Israel that reads, “There’s more than one way to be a Jew.” Here, our bumper sticker would read, “There’s more than one way to support Israel.”


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