Rootless in Zion

Posted 4 months ago
Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

Category : Fiction & Literature

Price: $ 2.99

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In 1966 Jerusalem is a sleepy backwater, but the students at the university are determined to enjoy themselves while being politically involved and benefiting from the throbbing night life. Three graduate students – Brian from Australia, Batsheva from the U.S.A., and Cynthia from England – are trying to complete their studies. Since all three are originally from English-speaking countries, they spend their coffee-breaks together and do their best to cope with life in their adoptive country. Their relations with the local population vary from fraught to friendly, as they find themselves involved in the issues of the day. Brian, is married to Israeli-born Rosina. They have two young children and live in one of Jerusaalem’s new suburbs. With his dry humor, which sometimes descends into sexual innuendo, he is trying to maintain a balance between completing his M.A. in the history of Australian literature, spending time with attractive young students, and remaining faithful to his wife. Batsheva, a beautiful recent arrival from the U.S.A. and known to her friends as Batty, is married to economics professor, Sam ben Lulu, but has kept her maiden name of Levinson. In California she was active in the Civil Rights movement, and still hankers to go back and continue her work there. While struggling to complete her doctorate in modern American history, she opens a discotheque in Jerusalem together with her husband, inviting Cynthia to be their D.J. She happens to meet and form a bond with David, a young philosophy student, with whom she shares several areas of interest. Cynthia is working as a research assistant for the Head of the History Department and is trying to finish her M.A. in contemporary Jewish history. She is trying to translate the diary her grandmother wrote in German while being incarcerated in Theresienstadt. She loves classical music and shares an apartment with another student, Elinor, whose lifestyle jars with her own. While doing her best to fend off the attentions of one of her professors, she goes on dates with a succession of inept young men. She is attracted to Batty’s friend David, and is overjoyed when he eventually invites her to his apartment. The book deals with the relations between the three main characters as well as between them and Israeli society in general. Their dilemmas and personalities are examined in the light of the ethnic tensions and conflicting political forces current at the time. The book as a whole examines the rationale associated with immigration to Israel by young people from western countries.

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