At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land

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9780688169084: At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land
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Yossi Klein Halevi's first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, a remarkable coming-of-age story, was lauded by the New York Times as being "of burning importance ... a drama central to the very soul of Jewish life." Now, in At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden, Haleví describes his unprecedented and extraordinary spiritual journey to discover, as a religious Israeli Jew, a common spiritual language with his Christian and Muslim neighbors in the Holy Land.

While religion has fueled the violent conflict plaguing the Middle East, Halevi wondered whether it could be a source of unity as well. To find the answer, he began a two-year exploration of the devotional life of Christianity and Islam. He followed their holiday cycles, befriended Christian monastics and Islamic mystics, and joined them in prayer in monasteries and mosques -- searching for wisdom and holiness in places that are usually off-limits to outsiders of other faiths.

In this gripping work, Halevi candidly reveals how he fought to resolve his own fears and anger as a Jew and came to relate to Christians and Muslims as fellow spiritual seekers. He chronicles the difficulty of overcoming obstacles -- theological, political, historical, and psychological -- that separate believers of the three monotheistic faiths. And he introduces a dynamic range of fascinating individuals attempting to reconcile the dichotomous heart of this sacred place -- a struggle central to Israel, but which resonates for us all.

Written in lyrical prose, Halevi takes his search for God into the heart of the Middle Eastern conflict. He insists on a spirituality that isn't escapist but instead confronts the wounds of history. The result is a book startlingly original and bold, one that embraces and transcends the categories of politics and faith.

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Yossi Klein Halevi, born in America and now an Israeli citizen, embarked on a spiritual quest in order to appreciate the religious dimensions of conflicts in the Middle East. Beginning in 1998, he undertook "an attempt at religious empathy" in order "to test whether faith could be a means of healing rather than intensifying the conflicts in this land." Halevi, author of the critically acclaimed Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, chose "to pray and meditate with my Christian and Muslim fellow believers," as "a conscious refutation of the way we religious people of different faiths have always judged each other--by what we believe about God, rather than how we experience God's presence." The holy days of each religion form the structure of At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden, and Halevi's encounters with Sufi dervishes, Muslim sheiks, monks, nuns, and laypeople are entertaining, poignant, and sometimes fearsome. The stories do not separate "spirituality" from "politics"--or history, psychology, or theology. His commitment to describing an integrated experience of the many aspects of religious life helps to make the book a successful exercise in empathy, and a book of lasting literary value. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Yossi Klein Halevi is an American-born journalist who has lived in Jerusalem since 1982. He is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and the author of At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land and Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation. He and his wife, Sarah, have three children.

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Klein Halevi, Yossi; Halevi, Yossi Klein
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Book Description William Morrow & Company, Scranton, Pennsylvania, U. S. A., 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. While religion has fueled the violent conflict plaguing the Middle East, Yossi Klein Halevi wondered whether it could be a source of unity as well. To find the answer, he began a two-year exploration of the devotional life of Christianity and Islam. He followed their holiday cycles, befriended Christian monastics and Islamic mystics, and joined them in prayer in monasteries and mosques - searching for wisdom and holiness in places that are usually off-limits to outsiders of other faiths. In this gripping work, Halevi candidly reveals how he fought to resolve his own fears and anger as a Jew and came to relate to Christians and Muslims as fellow spiritual seekers. He chronicles the difficulty of overcoming obstacles - theological, political, historical and psychological - that separate believers of the three monotheistic faiths. And he introduces a dynamic range of fascinating individuals attempting to reconcile the dichotomous heart of this sacred place - a struggle central to Israel, but which resonates for us all. Written in lyrical prose, Halevi takes his search for God into the heart of the Middle Eastern conflict. He insists on a spirituality that isn't escapist but instead confronts the wounds of history. The result is a book startlingly original and bold, one that embraces and transcends the categories of politics and faith. 315 pages. Binding is half cloth. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 001602

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