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The Place I Live The People I Know - A Book Review

The Place I Live The People I Know

By Lori Mendel 367 pages, Archway Publishing $23.99

Reviewed by Judy Frankel

A book like this brings out the nosiness in us all. What could be more fascinating than a chance to delve into the varying outlooks, experiences and hopes of more than sixty assorted Israelis?

Posing the same dozen questions to each, Lori Mendel (clearly very much a "people person") travels energetically throughout Israel interviewing friends and acquaintances, old and young, veterans and the newly-arrived, Jews and Arabs from all backgrounds and origins. How is it that you are in Israel? Who helped shape your life? What setbacks have you faced? What is your burning issue?

The answers, impressively candid, highlight the complexity of today's society. One interviewee complains about the lack of kindness; another states, "It's easier to be a better person here"; one (on arrival from Uzbekistan) feels frightened at her religious boarding school; a Californian social worker declares, "I genuinely feel as though I really discovered true happiness in Israel." Many respond by urging the government to address what are seen as fundamental problems, such as unemployment or the lack of social justice.

Unsurprisingly, the predominant concern is the hope of a kinder, better world for our children. Once you start dipping into this absorbing collection of bite-sized pieces, you may well find yourself coming back for more. 



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Thursday, 18 July 2024

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