This year’s Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book & Arts Fair offers a broad range of programs, topics, and events. There is something for everyone, or so I’ve been told!
It is rare that I single out a book by an author who will appear, but I believe Dov Waxman’s book, Trouble in the Tribe: The American Conflict Over Israel, is the most important Jewish book published this year. As someone who has devoted 40 years in service to our Jewish community, I have witnessed, and addressed, the many challenges we have faced. But today, I am both saddened and frightened by the disunity over Israel that we are experiencing to the likes I’ve never seen.
Families can’t have reasonable conversations about Israel—I personally experienced this last year. At shul, there is tension and avoidance among congregants. Rabbis are walking thin lines both on the pulpit and in private conversations. At least in Houston we’re not name-calling…yet.
I have read Dov’s book cover to cover. In my opinion, the beauty of his book is that he lays out the facts about the American Jewish Community’s breakdown over Israel and supports this with statistics and studies. You never really know where HE stands on Israel—because that’s NOT what the book is about. Like any excellent professor, he allows the audience to glean from the facts and then shape his/her own thoughts on it—the disunity, NOT on one’s position on Israel.
Many are judging this book without reading it. They base their “understanding” from articles and reviews by the same publications they refer to for all their reading about Israel. Meaning, they’re not reading neutral publications like Publishers Weekly or Kirkus. Here’s one: "A meticulous, precise, well-organized survey that takes into account the many different views and will certainly facilitate the heated conversation."--Kirkus (Starred Review)
I hope that I will see many of your during the Fair, which runs Oct 29-Nov 13, but consider this my personal invitation to come Wednesday, Nov 2 at 7:30 PM. The program will not be your standard JBAF program. Rabbi Jill Levy, Director of our Bobbi and Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living & Learning, has worked with Dov to deepen the audience’s experience that night. Audience members will not only have a chance to hear from Dov himself, an articulate speaker and writer, but to engage in what we are hoping will be a robust conversation with each other and with our author.
See you at the Fair!
Assistant Executive Director