Far from Zion
In Search of a Global Jewish Community
By Charles London
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061561085, 336pp.)
Publication Date: November 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Raised in a nonreligious Jewish family, Charles London knew his heritage but had no strong desire to experience it personally. Then in the summer of 2004, while doing relief work in Bosnia, he stumbled upon a remarkable communitywhere Jews worked alongside Muslims and Christians to rebuild a city ravaged by war. This encounter gave him the idea for a journey that would take him around the world and back to his roots.
Far from Zion is the story of Jews in far-flung, often surprising places. Despite efforts by Israel to bring these scattered people home to Zion, they have chosen to remain in the lands of their birth: a shopkeeper selling Jewish trinkets in Iran, a caretaker keeping watch over an all-but-forgotten synagogue in Rangoon, revelers at a Hanukkah celebration in an Arkansas bowling alley, a Cuban engineering professor, proud of his Jewish heritage and prouder still of his Communist ideals. It is through their stories and many others that London examines his own identity, as he, too, struggles to come to terms with his connection to Zion.
Charles London is a former research associate with Refugees International and director of curriculum for War Kids Relief, a peace-building organization. He is the 1999 winner of the Rolling Stone College Journalism Award, and his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, and other national publications. He has been a young-adult librarian for the New York Public Library and is the author of One Day the Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War. He lives in New York City.