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A window into the Jewish People’s connection to Israel—
written especially for Christians.
“Israel has taken Jewish sacred history, peoplehood, and ethics out of the realm of speculation and put them into the crucible of real life experience. In returning the Jewish People to its homeland, Israel has returned Jews to material reality—with all its challenges. The Jewish People’s return to the Land returns Judaism to its original vision and the Jewish People to the responsibilities of the biblical covenant.”
—from Chapter 9
Along with illuminating the importance of Israel for Jews, this special book examines the Jewish return to Zion as a significant theological event that strengthens the foundations of the Christian faith and its mission.
In clear and accessible language, this introduction guides Christians through the essential meanings of Israel for the Jewish People and for the world. It defines Israel as an indispensable part of Judaism’s vision for the Jewish People to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy people,” as a partner with God in the Bible’s sacred covenant. It examines Israel, a sovereign Jewish state, as a safe refuge and home for Jews fleeing persecution anywhere in the world, and how this gives meaning to the Jewish People’s convictions that the future can be more secure than the past.
The State of Israel stands at the center of how Jews see themselves today as individuals as well as at the center of the Jewish People’s collective self-perception. As a result, understanding Judaism and the Jewish People is possible only by grasping the Jewish hopes, dreams and experiences that center around Israel, the promised land.
Informative, factual and, sadly, as dry as the land it depicts, this newest installment of the Brief Introduction for Christians series has some fine qualities. It is filled with interesting tidbits and opinions of which even Jewish readers may not be aware\x97e.g., the Israeli view of \x93Hanukkah as a symbol of political independence and precedent for Jewish cultural and military self-defense.\x94 Chock-full of history, dates and statistics, the overview of Jews' relationship to Israel is thorough. However, it feels more like required collegiate reading than the engaging dialogue it could be, and the more contemporary commentary, particularly regarding American Jews, fails to illustrate the breadth of diversity within the community. Though by definition the Diaspora has produced Jews of every background and opinion, Korn, professor of Jewish thought in the Department of Christian-Jewish studies at Seton Hall, generalizes the place in which American Jews hold Israel as \x93a central focus of Jewish identity,\x94 as well as their connection to the \x93Ethiopian, Russian, Yemenite, and Iraqi Jews... as brothers and sisters.\x94 Certainly, Zionists abound in the United States, yet Korn fails to develop the idea that opinions on Israel vary as much among Jews as among their Gentile counterparts.