Tag Archives: israel history

Lorri M. Review: The Negotiator

thenegotiator The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas, is an intriguing book, and one that is factually documented.

Through correspondence, proposals, telephone contacts, meetings, secretive encounters, the author, Baskin Gershon, brings us a true story of the efforts it took in order to free Gilad Schalit from his kidnappers. Aside from the documentation and never-ending endeavors by others, Baskin, himself, was a contributor to the relations that were formed in order to gain Schalit his freedom.

Not only his family, but the world waited, hoped and listened for any news regarding Schalit. He became a symbol of youth and freedom, hope and endurance. Baskin’s connections led to other connections and encounters. He was almost like a peacemaker in the background of a continuing saga.

This book depicts the events involved in the negotiations, mostly behind-the-scenes, to bring Schalit home. In the end, he was brought home, not only to his country, but to his ever-anxious family, a family that held their hopes high, despite holding their breath for his return.

Gerson Baskin went beyond all expectations in his involvement in attempting to achieve Schalit’s freedom. The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas demonstrates his amazing fortitude, ability as a negotiator, and above all-the humanity of the man in trying to forge the necessary relationships that were involved in his efforts. He was an extremely involved man, not only physically and logically, but emotionally as well. He, his country and Gilad Schalit’s famly waited with deep anxiety to see Gilad Schalit returned home.

The events surrounding the release of Schalit are not well-known. This book documents many of the untold and unknown happenings. It also is a valuable historical resource regarding Israel and Hamas, and the negotiation process.

The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas is a page-turner of a story, a true one at that. Once I began it, I read it straight through. It is not only intriguing but suspenseful. It is, in my opinion, a book that holds high historical value. I feel it belongs in every high school, college, university, and public library. It is a book I highly recommend.


Filed under Book Reviews, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction

Sunday Scenes April 14, 2013 – Yom HaZikaron


Yom HaZikaron begins tonight (April 14, 2013) at sundown. It is a memorial day that commemorates the individuals who lost their lives fighting for Israel, and a day of reflection, memory and loss.

The Silver Platter, by Natan Altermann

…And the land will grow still
Crimson skies dimming, misting
Slowly paling again
Over smoking frontiers

As the nation stands up
Torn at heart but existing
To receive its first wonder
In two thousand years

As the moment draws near
It will rise, darkness facing
Stand straight in the moonlight
In terror and joy

…When across from it step out
Towards it slowly pacing
In plain sight of all
A young girl and a boy

Dressed in battle gear, dirty
Shoes heavy with grime
On the path they will climb up
While their lips remain sealed

To change garb, to wipe brow
They have not yet found time
Still bone weary from days
And from nights in the field

Full of endless fatigue
And all drained of emotion
Yet the dew of their youth
Is still seen on their head

Thus like statues they stand
Stiff and still with no motion
And no sign that will show
If they live or are dead

Then a nation in tears
And amazed at this matter
Will ask: who are you?
And the two will then say

With soft voice: We–
Are the silver platter
On which the Jews’ state
Was presented today

Then they fall back in darkness
As the dazed nation looks
And the rest can be found
In the history books.

April 14, 2013 – 4 Iyyar, 5773

All rights reserved © Copyright 2007 – All Rights Reserved – No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my express written consent/permission.


Filed under Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog

Lorri M. Book Review: Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar

nehamaleibowitz Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar, by Yael Unterman, is an extremely well-documented book encompassing the varied facets of the life of Nehama Leibowitz.

She was in the forefront of women Torah teachers, and influenced not only Jewish individuals worldwide, but also those who were not Jewish. People flocked to her, and could not get enough of her teachings. Whoever wanted to learn was given the opportunity to learn. In her eyes, everyone was equal.

From the cab drivers to the janitors to Rabbis and corporate heads, Nehama endeavored to instill her scholarship to all who wanted it, through her highly popular and unique teaching methods. Her gilyonot/worksheets were the foundation of learning for thousands of individuals. She mailed them out to those who requested them. In turn, they were mailed back to her, and she would review them and return them with comments and/or corrections. Students couldn’t get enough of those gilyonot, and their popularity rose from word-of-mouth throughout the world. Her Bible courses and Torah Portion teaching methods made her famous worldwide.

Nehama became an icon of sorts, and did not like being labeled as such. But, labeled she was, and Unterman details her dedication and work through extreme detail, encompassing correspondence, documents, photographs, interviews with students and her peers, friends and family, and analysis of her environment.

Nehama was extremely intelligent, forthright, had a strong work ethic, and was dedicated to the study of Torah. This dedication not only applied to her students and others interested in Torah, but also encompassed her own ideals and dedication. Her devotion also applied to Israel, itself. She believed in the state of Israel, believed in its contributions and roles to the Jewish community as a whole.

Although she was asked to lecture and teach in universities outside of Israel, she refused every invitation. The only time she traveled outside of Israel, was when she emigrated to Israel. Israel was her home, and she saw no need to travel outside of its borders.

Nehama was a very opinionated person, and her beliefs were strong as far as taking responsibility for actions, and taking responsibility for humanity. She evokes these ideals throughout her teachings, and lends credence to them through Torah study.

She held classes in her home often, and students were in disbelief when first entering her house. It was sparse, and furniture was old and worn. This was the world she thrived in, and simplicity was everywhere within her home. She didn’t have need for material things, and her furniture was used until it literally fell apart. The same went for her clothes.

One thing I learned from this incredible book is the fact that Nehama was married. She never had to change her surname, because she married her uncle, Yedidya Lipman Leibowitz. He was old enough to be her father. They had a wonderful relationship and marriage. Each adored the other, and their adoration was apparent to others. They shared much in common, and their values and ideals were synonymous. When he died, a part of her died, also. She threw herself into her work more than she had already done (which had already taken up the majority of her daily time).

Nehama became a world-recognized Jewish force. Her personality grasped individuals in a positive manner. She was a force like no other, when it came to Torah. Her adamancy regarding issues captivated her peers and her students, alike. She was a respected scholar during a time period when men were the more highly regarded scholars.

Unterman depicts almost every facet of Nehama’s life, including teaching, her methodology, opinions, feminism, approaches to learning, Jewish identity and Zionism, and so much more. Throughout the pages, the reader not only recognizes the fact that Nehama was a scholar, but also is shown the perspective of a woman of humility and simplicity. Despite her often authoritative manners, underneath the voice was a humble woman.

I could not put the book down. The story, itself, is almost 600 pages long, and I read it at every given opportunity. For me, it was not a tedious read, but a book I wanted to read. There is so much to learn within the pages, not only about Nehama, but about Jewish life, the Jewish religion, Torah, Jewish education and the Jewish community as a whole. It is a fascinating book on many levels.

I totally enjoyed reading Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar. In my opinion, it is a brilliant masterpiece. Yael Unterman’s own devotion to depicting Nehama with extreme accuracy is evident within the pages. The book is a masterful testament to her, and honors her with dignity through exemplary writing. I applaud Yael Unterman! I highly recommend Nehama Leibowitz: Teacher and Bible Scholar to everyone.

March 11, 2013 – 29 Adar I, 5773


Filed under Biography, Book Reviews, Jewish History, Judaism, Lorri's Blog, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized

Lorri’s Book Review: The Inbetween People

the inbetween people How does one cope when a mother picks up, without warning and abandons the family, setting off for another country to live with a man other than your father? How does a child of four handle the death of his mother, from childbirth, within the environment of conflicts in Israel?

The Inbetween People, by Emma McEvoy, is a novel that quite brilliantly depicts two individuals who become friends. Ari Goldberg is Jewish. Saleem is an Israeli Arab. The two meet and through the years we read about their struggles to maintain their lives within the constant struggles that are ongoing between the Jews and the Arabs.

The majority of the book deals with the issues of the loss of their mothers. Ari’s mother and her abandonment of the family takes its toll in every facet of his life. He tries to extinguish his feelings and his thoughts on her, but they resurface to haunt him.

The same is true of Saleem, and how the loss of his mother affected him and the rest of his family. Ari’s father tried to shield him as best he could, but even he felt the constant loss. The loss of his grandmother’s house, which was eventually occupied by Israelis, affected how the family managed to survive the indignity of being forced to leave their home.

Ari begins to write from a prison cell, and he writes of the loss of his mother. Saleem joins the Israeli army, as an Arab, hoping to help the conflicts occurring.

I thought The Inbetween People had a lot to offer in regards to family dynamics, especially how loss defines a person. The characters tried to bury their losses, tried to hide their memories from themselves, to no avail.

Can we bury the past? When familial, emotional trauma constantly fills us, mentally, physically and emotionally? We can become like people in limbo, stuck in time in between the past and the present. The connections of time become intertwined. Through McEvoy’s beautiful prose, almost poetic prose and word imagery, we are given a lot to ponder in that respect.

The story is a metaphor for love, loss and redemption, within a framework of an ongoing social situation.

I finished it in a few hours, as it was a slim volume. It did have a strong message, within the short framework. McEvoy’s prose is filled with loveliness, and a feeling of melancholy illuminates the pages. I found The Inbetween People to be an excellent read regarding the emotional issues surrounding motherly loss and regarding the issues of conflict within a country’s changing attitudes and ideals. Emma McEvoy encompassed those issues well.

January 17, 2013 – 6 Sh’vat, 5773

All rights reserved © Copyright 2007 – 2013 – All Rights Reserved – No permission is given or allowed to reuse my photography, book reviews, writings, or my poetry in any form/format without my express written consent/permission.


Filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Lorri's Blog, Novels