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Jacob's Gift: A Journey into the Heart of Belonging Hardcover – 24 Feb 2005
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Jonathan Freedland looks on as his eight-day-old son is about to be circumcised and admitted into the Covenant of Abraham'. So begins a search for the meaning of his son's inheritance and an epic journey into the nature of this, the world's oldest civilisation. What has Freedland done by enlisting his son into the Jewish people? What gift or burden has he given him? Freedland digs deep into his own family's past, telling the story of three remarkable people, each of whom came up with radically different answers to a quintessentially modern dilemma: how to live as a minority in the modern world. Rich in both human drama and reflection, Jacob's Gift is the story of this quest, and a delightful meditation on belonging.
About the Author
Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He has been a columnist at the Guardian since 1997 and was named Columnist of the Year in the 2002 What the Papers Say awards. His first book, Bring Home The Revolution, was published in 1998.
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The family's tragedy during the London Blitz an evacuations to the Bedfordshire village of Shefford where the people were so kind.
An uncle emigrating to Palestine and becoming an official vetting the European Jews in.
JF's father becoming a famous journalist and Biographer.
doubts and questions that many of our contemporaries face .At the same time I felt that this man in in the real world and the fact that he relates the Jewish history so clearly made me want to pass this copy on to my grandchildren .I recommend this as it is so readable. I still have the hardback!
The most interesting story he tells is that of his mother Sarah Hocherman - what an amazing life. Her story could have been a book in its own right.
Apart from recording tales of his family Freedland explores other facets of Judaism - its long history, its traditions and its inconsistencies. The mention of the genetic/DNA background of the various Jewish peoples was fascinating (and could have been expanded). He tries to take a dispassionate look at all the issues - he is clearly uncomfortable about some actions carried out in the cause of Zionism and even looks into some of the causes of anti-semitism.
Jacob's Gift is well researched and written in an easy novelistic style. The family tree at the beginning was helpful - but I would have liked some dates to have been included.
Their stories are interwoven with some of the key events of the Twentieth Century.
The lives portrayed are both inspirational and at the same time a sad reflection on the shallow and cynical world in which we find ourselves today.
However I feel there is one minor fault, which is the final chapter. I find this an unconvincing attempt to rationalise the conflicts of his Jewish (largely secular) identity and the world of progressive/socialist thought to which the rest of his identity belongs.