In The Land of Israel: My Family 1809-1949 (Hardcover)
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At once an intimate account of a young girl's coming of age during the tempestuous times attending the birth of Israel and a rare record of Jewish family life in Palestine under the Ottomans dating to 1809, Nitza Rosovsky's In the Land of Israel: My Family 1809-1949 adds fresh insights into the narrative of Jewish migration from early nineteenth century Europe to the formation of a Jewish homeland.
Author of the highly acclaimed Jerusalem Walks and a seventh generation sabra, Nitza Rosovsky writes with the grace, even-handedness, good humor, command and sharp eye of someone who knows her territory well. She tells the history of the Epstein, Ashkenazi, and Berman families and their early emigration from Moldova and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe to Tiberias, Safed and eventually Jerusalem. The pre-Zionist family history has been masterfully reconstructed over a thirty-year period from interviews with older family members and cumulative inferences from a host of eclectic sources including documentary fragments, inscriptions on a family bible and the Montefiore censuses.
That introduction sets the stage for Nitza's often amusing, occasionally pointed and consistently poignant account of her adolescence in Jerusalem during the British Mandate and her mother's extended family, the Bermans, who established and operated the largest bakery in Jerusalem. From the vantage point of half a century, the story pivots around Nitza's mother, Leah Berman, a remarkable woman whose life, unrequited love and dedication to a family deeply rooted in Israel is in every sense the heart of the book. This unusual combination of historical perspective and personal narrative opens an irresistible window into seven generations of Jewish life in what was once Palestine and is now the modern state of Israel.
About the Author
Author of Jerusalem Walks, co-author of The Museums of Israel and editor of City of the Great King: Jerusalem from David to the Present, Nitza Rosovsky has written and lectured extensively on history, archaeology, photography and travel. She served as Curator for Exhibits of the Semitic Museum at Harvard and co-founded and co-directed the Art/Asia Gallery. The Jerusalem-born seventh generation sabra now lives with her husband, Henry, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“Apparently it is a family history, but the book is also a good introduction to the general history of the periods it covers. History is not just big names, heroic deeds, and significant dates. It is also the life of the regular people living at those periods. It affords us a glimpse, rarely available—except in fiction—into private history, beautifully and accurately told from an unusual angle.” —Magen Brosh, Archaeologist Curator Emeritus of the Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum
“When Nitza Rosovsky's family arrived in the Holy Land at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was even then hostile turf, both demographically and geographically. Rosovsky draws vividly—sometimes tragically, sometimes joyously—the truly amazing characters, her incandescent ancestors and relatives, who helped build modernity from ancient legend. This tender personal narrative, sometimes also tough and edgy, is deftly set into the tumultuous politics of the Arabs, the Ottomans, the British and, of course, the Jews. This is the history of Israel you have never quite read.”
—Martin Peretz, former Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic from 1974 to 2011