ASSIGNMENT IN ISRAEL by Bernard-Ed. Mandelbaum
Kirkus Star


Email this review


It seems to be a universal experience that a visit to Israel imposes an identification and a commitment on the visitor. There's a compulsion to attempt to share the heady wine of the tempo, the very air one breathes, the dedication of the people, the unique sense of rubbing elbows with the past while having eyes set on the future. Dr. Mandelbaum, Provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and a professor in the Rabbinical School, has brought together sixteen people of various faiths and backgrounds, all of whom have experienced this emotional reaction. In the case of Bishop Pike and Governor McKeldin, there was no specific ""assignment"" -- but both left Israel with a sense of dedication to the dominant goal. Robert St. John has published three books that opened many eyes to what was going on in this land of miracles. Zino Francescatti and Anna Sokolow went as visiting artists- and found they brought away more than they gave. Leon Keyserling throws considerable light on the extraordinary economy of this tiny new republic, General Marshall on the unique army set-up, Philip Klutznick on the ""vision of a city"", and Mitchell Field on the gropings towards a wider view on a future of export and world acceptance. Perhaps the most exciting chapter of all is Walter C. Lowdermik's The Land, in which he traces the realization of the dream envisioned in his memorable Palestine, Land of Promise (1944), for his was a dream that has seen fulfillment in a desert rapidly changing to a land ""flowing with milk and honey"". Simon Greenberg urges the building of spiritual bridges, and Moshe Davis feels that an extension of the teaching of American-Jewish history will both serve to deepen the foundations on which Judaism has rested in the past and must count for survival in the future. Waldo Frank- Margaret Mead and finally Dore Schary have added new dimensions to the understanding of the vision and the practicality which brings it into reality. To anyone who has been there, the book is supplemented with mental pictures -- what was, what is. To someone coming to the book with a clean slate, this should spur interest and charge imagination. This isn't just another symposium. It is the factual record of a miracle.

Publisher: Harper