Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


What Has ‘Invention of the Jewish People’ Invented?

Nextbook author Halkin takes prominent book to task

Print Email
The Western Wall during Tisha B'Av, July 2009.(Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Hillel Halkin—whose biography of 12th-century Jewish poet Yehuda Halevi is forthcoming from Nextbook Press—reviews Shlomo Sand’s much-discussed The Invention of the Jewish People in The New Republic. (Evan R. Goldstein reviewed it for Tablet Magazine.) Halkin is not a fan; specifically, he deplores Sand’s allegedly ahistorical charge that Jews only began to conceive of themselves as a coherent people in the mid-1800s. Halkin concludes his review with a mini-manifesto, about Jewish historical writing and its relation to the Jewish present, that is worth flagging:

If Israel is going to be Jewish and fully democratic, it will have to find other ways for non-Jews to become Jews, or to identify with Jews, than the forbidding Orthodox conversion that is currently their sole societal option. A revival of historical interest in how, in certain times and places in the past, non-Jews have been successfully integrated into the Jewish people in large numbers, and without too many questions asked, might be a contribution to such a process.

Indecent Proposal

Related: Yehuda Halevi [Nextbook Press]
Inventing Israel [Tablet Magazine]

Earlier: ‘Times’ Weighs In on ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’

Print Email

We seem to be creating problems for yourself trying to solve this problem rather than find out why their is a problem in the first place


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

What Has ‘Invention of the Jewish People’ Invented?

Nextbook author Halkin takes prominent book to task

More on Tablet:

How To Make Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables

By Joan Nathan — Video: Filled with warm rice and unexpected spices, they’re perfect for a cool autumn night—as a side dish or vegetarian entree