Jerusalem Mosaic: Voices from the Holy City

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6-Up-Thirty-six Jewish, Moslem, and Christian teenagers living in Jerusalem speak their minds in this revealing collection of monologues extracted from interviews conducted in 1992 and 1993. All but a few of the young people seem committed to staying there-even with the great uncertainties of the near future. Most talk about the up-and-down relationships with family and friends to which American teens can easily relate, but the political strife of the Middle East (and especially the Arab-Israeli conflict) intrude on the thoughts of even the least politicized. The Intifada, the peace agreement between the PLO and Israel, the complexities and minutiae of Israeli and Palestinian politics, the secular v. religious conflicts in all three cultures, military service in Israel, the Gulf War, and the recent influx of Russian and Ethiopian immigrants into Israel permeate almost all of the their reflections on their lives. And the resulting mosaic provides YAs with insight into a society that is widely misunderstood in America. Despite the fragmentation of ethnic and religious neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and the great mutual suspicion between groups, this collage clearly depicts a city of over 500,000 where there is significant interaction among Arabs, Jews, and Christians. The book mixes a dose of stark reality with a strain of hope, which makes this multifaceted portrait of young people's lives a true microcosm of what's going on in Israel today.-Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego
Hazel Rochman
Beyond folktales and Bible stories, there are few books for YAs about the people of the Middle East. These 36 lively monologues, based on interviews with teenagers living in Jerusalem today, include a wide range of contemporary voices, Jew and Arab, Muslem and Christian. Whether moderate or fanatic, naive or sophisticated, they speak loudly and clearly. Nearly all of them love their city and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. They are candid and passionate about politics, family, religion, love, work, and war. Except for a brief historical overview, the authors offer no analysis. A few lines of introduction to each speaker would have been helpful, especially since the arrangement is simply alphabetical by first name. However, the very randomness of the order dramatizes the differences and connections among these people who live so closely together. Readers will see the diversity not only between ethnic groups, but also within each group; the closer you get, the more individuals defy stereotype. In many ways, the religious Muslems, Jews, and Christians have more in common with one another than with the atheists of their own ethnic groups. One Jewish speaker rants against the orthodox Jews and Muslems ("This God thing certainly makes the Arabs crazy, too. What the hell do they want?"). Then a religious Jew speaks about his way of life (including his arranged marriage at 16) and about his belief that "secular culture is the Hitler of our time." The monologues lend themselves to reader's theater and are sure to spark lively debate. The photographs were unseen in galley.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780027676518
  • Publisher: Little Simon
  • Publication date: 11/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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