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Home to Stay: One American Family's Chronicle of Miracles and Struggles in Contemporary Israel

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In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, but a few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Jerusalem permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace. Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, but a few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Jerusalem permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace. Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his life to friends and family abroad. These missives—passionate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and informative—began reaching a much broader readership than he’d ever envisioned, eventually being excerpted in The New York Times Magazine to much acclaim. An edited and finely crafted collection of his original e-mails, Home to Stay is a first-person, immediate account of Israel’s post-Oslo meltdown that cuts through the rhetoric and stridency of most dispatches from that country or from the international media. This is must reading for anyone who wants to get a firsthand, personal view of what it’s like for a family on the front lines of war.


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In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, but a few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Jerusalem permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace. Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started In the summer of 1998, Daniel Gordis and his family moved to Israel from Los Angeles. They planned to be there for a year, but a few months into their stay, Gordis and his wife decided to remain in Jerusalem permanently, confident that their children would be among the first generation of Israelis to grow up in peace. Immediately after arriving in Israel, Daniel had started sending out e-mails about his life to friends and family abroad. These missives—passionate, thoughtful, beautifully written, and informative—began reaching a much broader readership than he’d ever envisioned, eventually being excerpted in The New York Times Magazine to much acclaim. An edited and finely crafted collection of his original e-mails, Home to Stay is a first-person, immediate account of Israel’s post-Oslo meltdown that cuts through the rhetoric and stridency of most dispatches from that country or from the international media. This is must reading for anyone who wants to get a firsthand, personal view of what it’s like for a family on the front lines of war.

30 review for Home to Stay: One American Family's Chronicle of Miracles and Struggles in Contemporary Israel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ilana Diamant

    Generally interesting book about Israel, but the melodramatic title and the writing itself make the author sound boring and self-indulgent at times. The author clearly didn't plan to write this book with a narrative or goal in mind, it's just a compilation of his emails, letters and thoughts from years back when he was still living in the US and then decided to move to Israel. No insights or challenging thoughts besides sentimental family history that's inevitably tied to Jerusalem's day to day Generally interesting book about Israel, but the melodramatic title and the writing itself make the author sound boring and self-indulgent at times. The author clearly didn't plan to write this book with a narrative or goal in mind, it's just a compilation of his emails, letters and thoughts from years back when he was still living in the US and then decided to move to Israel. No insights or challenging thoughts besides sentimental family history that's inevitably tied to Jerusalem's day to day life once his family migrated there.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Parker

    On my last few days in Israel, I spent them safe in Tel Aviv but glued to the news and despairing about the new round of fighting surrounding the Temple Mount. I woke up to bloody pictures of the family murdered in Halamish. I cringed at Netanyahu's response. I dreading seeing Israel engulfed in a third (or would it be the fourth?) Intifada. Gordis perfectly captures that loving despair for Israel. "If a Place Can Make You Cry" covers his experiences of moving to Israel during the optimistic Osl On my last few days in Israel, I spent them safe in Tel Aviv but glued to the news and despairing about the new round of fighting surrounding the Temple Mount. I woke up to bloody pictures of the family murdered in Halamish. I cringed at Netanyahu's response. I dreading seeing Israel engulfed in a third (or would it be the fourth?) Intifada. Gordis perfectly captures that loving despair for Israel. "If a Place Can Make You Cry" covers his experiences of moving to Israel during the optimistic Oslo hey-day and staying to weather through the second intifada. His early optimism metamorphosing from bleak heartbreak to defiant determination is the story I recognize the most from my own time in Israel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    I think it's a good Israeli perspective but it loses something on how Palestinians precive Israel, especially in the first half of the book. After that it became pretty boring I think it's a good Israeli perspective but it loses something on how Palestinians precive Israel, especially in the first half of the book. After that it became pretty boring

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robby Rami

    Great account of what it is like living in aliyah. The writer is empathetic to the plight of the Palestinians while still wanting the state of Israel to thrive.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bookwookie ✿

    I have a lot of complicated feelings about this book but overall I’m glad I read it (rtc)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    This book...hm. It was emotionally very difficult for me to read, especially since I'm Israeli myself. It's also difficult sometimes to make sense of the author's thoughts, since he wasn't intending to write a book and has simply compiled his emails with little or no editing. If you already know a lot about Israeli history, this book will illuminate the human aspect of all those names, dates, and numbers of people killed. But if you don't, it will be very confusing, because Gordis often doesn't e This book...hm. It was emotionally very difficult for me to read, especially since I'm Israeli myself. It's also difficult sometimes to make sense of the author's thoughts, since he wasn't intending to write a book and has simply compiled his emails with little or no editing. If you already know a lot about Israeli history, this book will illuminate the human aspect of all those names, dates, and numbers of people killed. But if you don't, it will be very confusing, because Gordis often doesn't explain events fully. I'd recommend it to anyone with existing knowledge of the situation. Otherwise, you'd best start off with something more user-friendly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Eric O

    One of my teachers (for three days) on JLI (Jewish Leadership Institute) in Israel. One of the most remarkable teachers, writers, storytellers and people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. This book did make me cry, and Gordis really makes you feel like you're living in Israel with him and his family. One of my teachers (for three days) on JLI (Jewish Leadership Institute) in Israel. One of the most remarkable teachers, writers, storytellers and people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. This book did make me cry, and Gordis really makes you feel like you're living in Israel with him and his family.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Roxani

    My views on the conflict differ at times from Daniel Gordis' -- and that is perhaps why I so appreciated this book. His letters and observations capture the pulse of a place that is largely unpinnable. I thoroughly treasured his insights on Jerusalem, Israel, immigrant life in Israel and the conflict, as well as his observation of what a place making you cry can mean. My views on the conflict differ at times from Daniel Gordis' -- and that is perhaps why I so appreciated this book. His letters and observations capture the pulse of a place that is largely unpinnable. I thoroughly treasured his insights on Jerusalem, Israel, immigrant life in Israel and the conflict, as well as his observation of what a place making you cry can mean.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    A Jewish American family goes to Israel for a yearlong visit and decides to stay, just as Israeli and Palestinian relations begin to deteriorate. Will the family stay? Should they stay? They must; "it is our home." Recommended. A Jewish American family goes to Israel for a yearlong visit and decides to stay, just as Israeli and Palestinian relations begin to deteriorate. Will the family stay? Should they stay? They must; "it is our home." Recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kearstin

    Another book inspired by my trip to Israel. A great way to learn about the experience of an American immigrant to Israel. A thoughtful voice and an interesting format (series of letter home). A little bit forced at times. . .

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Very interesting book to read on the eve of my latest trip to Israel. Why would someone want to move there...many answers in this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vivien Silber

    Absolutely terrific!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marshaferz

    I don't agree with Danny Gordis on everything, but his writing style is very evocative and I am always interested in what he has to say. I don't agree with Danny Gordis on everything, but his writing style is very evocative and I am always interested in what he has to say.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Foxglove

    Heart breaking but beautiful like all Gordis books

  15. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    A wonderful book that really provides the narrative context for any future later thoughts Gordis shares about the Middle East Conflict and living in Israel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I read this book right after it came out in 2002. It opened up the discussion in my family to make aliyah, which we did, a year later. Inspiring book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heyden

    Great explanation of the Jewish connection to Eretz Yisrael.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  21. 4 out of 5

    Whit

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric Migicovsky

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lois

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bigmissy6

  25. 4 out of 5

    Avi Eisenman

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

  27. 4 out of 5

    David Carroll

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Loen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ruslan Maliuta

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