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At Home in Exile

At Home in Exile by Alan Wolfe
Hardcover
Oct 28, 2014 | 296 Pages
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Praise

“Mr. Wolfe quotes Christopher Hitchens’s remark that ‘Israeli Jews are a part of the Diaspora, not a group that has escaped from it.’ Jews have found ways of living in exile, even thriving in it, but nothing forces them to live in exile from their ideals. Alan Wolfe’s book is an expression of allegiance to those ideals and the people who have wrestled with them—keeping them alive wherever they may live.”
New York Times

“It’s good for the Jews that Wolfe has tackled this subject. He has long been one of America’s best nonfiction book reviewers and deploys that talent again and again in At Home in Exile.”
New York Times Book Review

“[Wolfe’s] thoughtful argument gradually and powerfully supports his position that a symbiotic relationship between Israelis and Jews living elsewhere (mostly in the U.S.) is good for both.”
Publishers Weekly

“Wolfe, a secular Jew who teaches at Boston College, has made an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary Jewish life. At Home in Exile is one of the most important secular Jewish books of the year.”
The Jewish Advocate

“[Wolfe’s] book is a nothing short of a call to arms.”
Jewish Journal

“Has the Diaspora been good for the Jews? Alan Wolfe, with the deftness and erudition of a born academic contrarian, answers with a resounding yes. He makes a powerful case that the Jewish people would never have become a protean cultural force had they been confined to one biblical enclave throughout their history: Jews have been enriched by other cultures as well as having enriched them, in spite (and sometimes because) of the persecutions endured. The epigraph for this provocative book might be, ‘If we forget thee, oh New York, let our right hands lose their cunning.’”
—Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason
 
“For the last two thousand years, the Jewish people have lived almost entirely in the Diaspora. Zionism is about 130 years old, and the State of Israel just sixty-six, but between them they overwhelmingly dominate the modern Jewish agenda. In this wide-ranging and meticulously researched book, the author serves up a feisty defense of Diaspora living and its crucial importance for Jewish continuity.”
—Dr. David J. Goldberg, OBE, rabbi emeritus of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London
 
“Alan Wolfe’s meditation on the Jews and their diaspora(s) is simultaneously erudite, thoughtful, and frequently quite moving. One can disagree on occasion, but this is most often because of Wolfe’s generosity to his subjects and his willingness to assume the best about the motives of those with whom he disagrees. A minor flaw—if it can be called that—in a major work. The book earns my admiration as a scholar and my gratitude as a Jew.”
—Eric Alterman, columnist for The Nation and author of Why We’re Liberals
 
“In this energetic examination of contemporary Jewish debates, the distinguished political thinker Alan Wolfe gives us a sharp and insightful analysis that is original, critical, and refreshingly straightforward.”
—Susannah Heschel, Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College
 
“Arguing for a radical reconsideration of exile as a potentially empowering political condition, Wolfe makes a provocative and moving case for a Jewish universalism that recognizes the virtues of minority status. He reminds us of the richness of Jewish political debates in the past around Zionism, in the process joining and furthering much-needed discussion. Gracefully and compellingly written, At Home in Exile will surely raise hackles, but it deserves sober consideration.”
—Deborah Dash Moore, general editor of City of Promises: A History of Jews in New York


From the Hardcover edition.

Table Of Contents

Introduction: Diaspora’s Destiny

CHAPTER 1
We’ll Rot till We Stink

CHAPTER 2
Defenders of Diaspora

CHAPTER 3
The Secularization of Particularism

CHAPTER 4
A Tale of Two Rabbis

CHAPTER 5
The Lost Jews, the Last Jews

CHAPTER 6
Anti-Anti-Semitism

CHAPTER 7
The End of Exile History?

Personal Afterword

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

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