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  #1  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:33 PM
noman noman is offline
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Default Why I became disillusioned with "The Source"

Besides the Bible and the Jewish encylopedia series..whenever I wanted to know about ancient Israel I would read J. Mitscher's "The Source". lately I havn't read it for several reasons....

#1} The time periods supposedly go up from cave man period to 1964...however there is a big gap in time period chronicles between 1880 and 1948...which leaves a lot out....World War I and the part played by the Jewish Legion ....the 26 years of mortal combat between Ben Gurion's Labor/Leftist parties and Jabotinsky revisionists culminating in the one day Civil War in which about 20 Jews were killed-right in the middle of the 1947-1949 War of Independence...an no metion of all of the efforts to Jews of land of Israel to help the Jews during the Shoah...such as running the British blockade of refugree ships before, during and after the Shoah ... nor no mention of the Jewish Brigade who helped the refugees and killed nazis....

#2) A observant relgious person would certainly find the distrurbing podtrait of the Sefat Rabbi Yitzak almost a caricature of a narrow minded over religious zealeaus who in the 1948 war is abbesed with letting himself became a holy martyr such as his sainted grandfather and not lifting a finger to protect his community from the Arab armies..and then years later when a widow {those husband has deserted her, bigomously married again and then died} tries to gain permission to marry again is refused by her brother and the Rabbi who can only repeat "There is the Law" over and over again.... one clue to his perception is his remark "the law is what the rabbis say it is..." {During the 1948 war when Eliav wife exteremly secularized wife yet has two emotional problums-she is secretly spirituality alone and cannot conceal her anger over the humiliating beating her grandfather had endeared from opponents who did not wish to move out of the gehtto. The Rabbi never gives her spiritual help nor emotional guidence....}

#3) Likewise the Arab {Jemail tabari} and the modern Israeli {Ilan Eliav} when both start arguing at the end of the book the Arab seems to come out better..frankly admitting that his family has lived there since the beginning chapters to the present. {One contradiction is that his family apparently surived the Crusades by marrying the Crusading germans in Chapter 12 -no explanation of how his family survived being wiped out in Chapter 13!}. The Israeli comes out second best...during the War of Independence he apparently part of the Haganah/Palmach although his activites prior to saving Zefat from the Arabs is planting a bomb against english soldiers in a retalatory move {such moves would have been in more keeping with the Irgun and the Stern group{!}. Likewise at the end despite being western/secularized he claims to to be a proud of being a Jew and following Jewish laws..even though he has broken one already....being a COhen yet he is walking on the very tell where his wife was killed in 1948...when Cohens are not even supposed to step in a graveyard! One clue to his future after 1964 is that in 1948 he actaully drives after Arabs fleeing and begging them to stay and build up Land/Israel..even when they choose not to stay....the present 1964 he does his best to argus Jamil into becoming part of a Israeli Govt and vows to work for peace.....even if the Arabs do not want part part of Israel at all.....
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:45 PM
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Michener's The Source is a novel; a work of fiction. Works of fiction are never composed within the academic or scholarly restrictions of a work of history, and are always completely unreliable as an actual source of historical knowledge. There is no peer-review of facts, or personalities, or chronology, or geographical settings, or coherent historical narrative. In a word, no quality control on the historical presumptions in the work, aside from what the author decides to worry about, and even there he is not held accountable.

Michener's other novels, Hawaii in particular, are wide of the mark historically. But then, they are only intended to entertain.

Leon Uris' book Exodus also has some interesting depictions, but that's another thread, perhaps. (Don't get me started on the Hollywood film!)

"Safed" is Tzfat. A great clue to Michener's level of knowledge right there, if a small one.

Actually, in some instances we did drive out Arabs, partly because combatant status was not clear, and partly to make some sane, secure blocks of Jewish land for our own nation building. But never forget many Arabs did stay, and most have been good citizens. I have lived around Arabs in central Galilee, up on the Lebanese border, in the Negev, and they are not at all like the scheming Jew-hating deceivers that even some good friends of Israel, who have never lived, here think. Now I live in a town, Haifa, with many Arabs. We get along.

Real history has many uncertainties, and far more rough edges and ambiguities than novels can portray. And to be fair to Michener, he was writing a novel, and never claimed The Source was a history book.

I cannot speak for the Michener depiction of the Tzfat rabbe, but we have had a few narrow-minded fellows in the Halls of Torah. It happens . . .

You are right to be critical of the novel, but rely on a variety of solid history books and scholarly articles right from the start. Though even there, good, scholarly men and women will not always agree.

... Cheers!
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:23 PM
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"Centenial" was barely tolerable--almost as bad as having to watch 12 hour mini series played end to end for nearly three months.."Texas" was a little better-the TV adoption showed the Alamo fall and cremating of the defeners in 1/2 hour! About the only one I liked was the Movie adaptation of "The Bridges of Tokko RI" {never read the book}. The only book of his I could read about the 1956 Hungarain Revolution...except his moralizing remarks....but writers can make their novels any whch way they want....
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:13 PM
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PS to last message
IN "Chesapeake" there is a story about a American Quaker who appeals to Adolf Hitler to let german Jews Immigrate......AS a matter of historical record {Trevor Roper and Cornelius Ryan} Hitler never gave up his 27 year racial Hatred of Jews even with his last breath!

PS I should have ment the Encylopedia Judica series not the turn of the century Jewish Encylopeida!

Last edited by noman; 03-06-2013 at 01:15 PM..
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  #5  
Old 03-21-2013, 02:40 PM
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See Israel Forum query:
Were Jews and Arabs destined to hate one another?

Last edited by noman; 03-21-2013 at 02:53 PM.. Reason: word correction
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noman View Post
Besides the Bible and the Jewish encylopedia series..whenever I wanted to know about ancient Israel I would read J. Mitscher's "The Source". lately I havn't read it for several reasons....

The time periods supposedly go up from cave man period to 1964...
Cave man??? As a staunch creationist, may I ask where so-called "cave men" fit into the Biblical account of creation? Mr. Michener obviously must believe in evolution or at the very least theistic evolution (both of which are nothing but bunk) in order to be writing that sort of nonsense, novel or no novel. You have every reason to be disillusioned and suggest remaining so in this particular case.
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:23 PM
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Ilan Eliav not only comes out second best--where as the Goverment Religious minister he also appears morally weak...In the case of the woman who tries to get permission to marry again...IIan should have given moral support...the Rabbi position that she should not marry again was valid only until her ex-husband was really truely dead {by an accident}..even theough that marriage was dead...when he bigamisouly marries again..which showed that he no longer cared for marriage bonds or for her...nor does the book look morally well for the Rabbi to side with her brother against her in cruely and callously refusing to let her marry again.... other cases in which Eliav doesn't look to good...is the case of a New York Jew driven out of Israel because trying to open a Kosher resturuant ....every time he tries the Rabbis keep putting more obstacles in his way....or the case of the Jews from India who aren't allowed to marry...because they cant document a unbroken 700 Jewish Lineage...or the case of a half jew...with a non Jewish athetist mother and a Jewish father not allowed to be a Jew.
Eliav gives no indication of trying to solve these other moral problums...the restruaratn problums could have been solved by instead of the Rabbis nitpicketing every little detail to have a a conference in which an outlline is given as to run a Kosher restruatnat step by step.

The cases of the half Jew and the India Jews could be solved by having the persons appear before a Bet Din and being questioned as to whta they beleive.....Certainly the half Jew case if his mother tried -despite her non-jewish origian and non religious bliefs-try to instill in him what a sense of what it means to beleive as a Jew...likewise if the India Jews do recount a heartfelt Confessian of being beleiving Jews-as laid out in the principles of Faith as laid out by Maimonides which show they are Jews heart/body and soul...

But as a novilist Mitchner can mane out any fictional story turn out the way he wanted to....Such as his novel "Poland" {apparently the only thing holding Poland back was the Russian tanks}. I can only wonder how he would a written a historical novel on Ireland--a shade of Leon Uris "Trinity" ???? In which it makes entertaing reading...with a few facts to appear historic...but NEVER Follows real HISTORY AT ALL {Such as that farce MASH the movie and boring comedy series}

How would "The Source" appear at the present...a chapter shows Eliav solving none of these moral problums...but instead is a founding member of the "PEACE NOW" Movement.....peace with Israel's enemies at any price.....even giving up all the land of israel {From Tel Aviv to Jordan River and from Dan to Beersheba as the saing goes} and bowing to UN demands to stop building settlements and give the Palestians anything they want to build their own "State".......

Last edited by noman; 06-09-2013 at 12:38 PM..
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Old 11-23-2013, 06:00 PM
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Likewise the novel's Rabbi is still acting as if the deascaed husband is still alive by forbidding the widow to marry again-yet-saying nothing about how the cheating husband illegally has a second wife-even though the husband has violated Rabbinial precepts:
Whoever takes a second wife in addition to his first one shall divorce the first and pay her kettubah (Yevamot 65a) From R.Ammi {amora}


Likewise Polygamy was banned under Gershom ben Judah


Indeed in Bigamy is illegal in the State of Israel

The novel draws a most unfortunate portrait of the fictitious Rabbi as little more than a stubborn stiff necked self righteous leader who will never give up power over his congregation while he lives...yet those who act so cruelly toward widows are surely punished..
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2013, 07:02 PM
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Try looking at the Faith of Israel, and worrying less about the decrees of men. I may (and often do) anger some of my fellow Israeli, but I am not a fan of all the artificial law created by an over-analysis and extreme isolation of details in a Torah text, by post-Biblical religious committees. I especially do not agree with this method applied to commentaries written by men, no matter how wise they may be, as if human conclusions have the force of Divine Decree. When absolute decrees are made by fallible, limited men (as even the best of us must be) which ruin the lives of real human beings, I can only appeal to Divine Justice. No man is God, that he should make decrees in God's name. We place much too much signifigance in this or that tradition, and not enough in approaching the Throne. We are Jews, not Catholics, and we have no need of men who act like popes. The glue that has held the Children of Israel together is God, not tradition. Ha-Shem v'lo masoret. Traditions can be great, but what they cannot be is greater than God.

By the way, there really isn't such a thing as a "half-Jew." I cannot, and never will, get my head around such a phrase. It is a completely foreign concept to Israel, and I am not sure where it comes from.

"Rebbe, rebbe, please help me! Tell me what to do," cried Aharon.

"Why should I know better than you," he replied, in all sincerity.

"But rebbe, you are the great and wise teacher in this village,
and you have spent a lifetime studying the sages
."

"This is true, Aharon, this is true. And it is also why I am certain
that whatever your problem, I am not wiser than you in the matter
."

"What is to be done, then," Aharon asked with great exasperation.

"I tell you what. Explain to me your problem, and what you would
have me do. And then, do it yourself, and I will help you if I can
."

Last edited by David of Galilee; 11-23-2013 at 07:22 PM..
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2013, 03:24 PM
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Exclamation another novelist I got tired off

Another mystery novelist I got tired of was late Harry Kemelman author of the 12 fictional Rabbi Small Mysteries {The first 7 after named after the days of the week naturally!} I began to tire of them after one in which a former KZ surviror {who is obbessed with finding the person who betrayed him} is found dead. Small determines that the victium had actually found and was trying to kill his betrayer and then Small recomends that the slayer not be arrested since it was self defense! It is entertaining reading exept for some logic holes-for example in such cases the a real life KZ vitium can apply the 1950 Israeli nazi and Collobrators law in a court of law aginst those whom who had victiumized him. Likewise one thing that is never answered is if the slayer was acting in self defense-why he tried to cover the fact up? The obvious Answear is that he doesnt want an investigation to expose his past/betrayel to Come Up because the obbessive KZ survivor was right! Yes mystery/novels series are so entertaining that yOu forget that author make mix a few facts in-but they are writing for a living for themsleves/enteratinment for their fans-and they can write the words anyway they want to-despite true facts to the record!

Last edited by noman; 12-06-2013 at 03:29 PM.. Reason: clearer words
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2013, 06:46 AM
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Novels never have any obligation whatsover to be factual, relevent, logical or in any way education. They are an entertainment medium.

Those Rabbi novels were essentially American, and very little Jewish. They reflect a most watery form of the Faith of Israel, in an environment of active assimilation and passive Judaism. I know many loved the books, both Jews and Gentiles. I was bored to tears. To each his own. I have heard that one American dramatisation was done well, but whether TV or film I don't know.

I do think that Kemelman writes well--I just don't find that what he writes makes for a very dynamic or interesting read.
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Old 12-07-2013, 03:47 PM
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One was made into a Pilot movie episode with actor Stuart margolin {Infamous as the comic relief moronic con artist Angel Martin on the series "The Rockford Files"} was Rabbi Small. Art Carney was as the Chief Police> Three more movies were made -but I think I saw the pilot episode for a few seconds and never saw the sequels!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanigan%27s_Rabbi
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:04 PM
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Other authors I grew out of were Isaac B. Singer and Leon Uris-Uris especally on his "Trinity" novel--the 1916 IRA didnt act generally like that!
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Old 12-07-2013, 05:57 PM
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I have no familiarity with American TV. But the Rabbi Small novels were hardlly my first choice of literature to dramatize.

At least I can give Uris credit for portraying Jews as being a nationality, and having a country and a life uder the sun. So many images of the Jew is that he either he lurked at the edges of society in the nations where he was exiled, or, lost his Jewish nationality entirely and became a Gentile with a quirky but mostly ignored religion. Jew and Jewish Nationality was not much written about outside the Jewish world. Uris exposed it to the larger Gentile world.

It is easy to get tired of any prolific writer.

Singer is very hard to fully soak in without knowing quite a bot about the vast Jewish world of central and eastern Europe, the Yiddish language, and the strength of traditional Orthodox Judaism. He was a great chronicler of tis now destroyed world.

Do you read Israel-based authors of Jewish literature in English?
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:25 PM
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Well frankly no authors come to mind...
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:14 AM
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AUTHORS:
  • Shmuel Yosef Agnon
  • Aharon Appelfeld
  • Ron Ben-Yishai
  • Nahum Benari
  • Max Brod
  • Orly Castel-Bloom
  • Yehonatan Geffen
  • David Grossman
  • Batya Gur
  • Emile Habibi
  • Amira Hass
  • Sayed Kashua
  • Shmuel Katz
  • Etgar Keret
  • Ephraim Kishon
  • Hanoch Levin
  • Julius Margolin
  • Aharon Megged
  • Sami Michae
  • Samir Naqqash
  • Uri Orlev
  • Meir Shalev
  • Zeruya Shalev
  • Moshe Shami
  • Mati Shemoelof
  • Chaim Walder
  • A.B. Yehoshua
  • Benny Ziffer

NOVELS:
  • A Perfect Peace
  • All Men are Equal – But Some are More
  • Badenheim 1939
  • Beaufort
  • Black Box
  • Blooms of Darkness
  • The Blue Mountain
  • The Bridal Canopy
  • The Choice
  • Days of Ziklag
  • Death of a Monk
  • A Guide to the Perplexed
  • A Handful of Fog
  • Home
  • House of Dolls
  • The Island on Bird Street
  • It's Not Luck
  • Mark of Cain
  • Married Life
  • Mortal Love
  • My Michael
  • Outcast
  • A Panther in the Basement
  • Past Continuous
  • Past Perfect
  • Second Person Singular
  • Still Walking
  • The Sweetheart of the Templar From the Valley of Rephaim
  • Tabula Rasa
  • A Tale of Love and Darkness
  • The People of Forever Are Not Afraid
  • To the End of the Land
  • A Trumpet in the Wadi

Not at all a complete or throough list. Almost all are published in English translations.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:45 AM
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[Continued from previous post]

Many of these writers are not "known" in foreign countries, aside from those interested in Hebrew literature and Israeli society through Israeli eyes. But in world literary circles, they are known. Exilic authors often are trying to explain life in the Diaspora, or are giving a minority view of life in a greater national society not their own. The ambivolence of having an uncomfortable secular nationality, and a 4000 year old nationality identity locked up when in public. And that's a fair perspective. Those who went back home to Israel, or who's parents did, may write about Jewish identity too, but they are free to write about much more. Sort of the "why Woody Allen isn't funny in Israel" take on things. In Israel, he'd be talking about film-making, clarinet music, etc. Not about being a nebische, or a schlemiel, or a remnant of the once-vast Yiddische World of central and eastern Europe. That's funny--to some--in America. In Israel, Woody Allen would have to line up behind all the other Jewish comedian-film makers.

So with Jewish authors in America, at least some of the ones you have read, the age-old Jewish identity issue is always lurking. Gentiles may not see or feel it. Unassimilated Jews see it all in sharp relief. Many have taken the very recent modern approach, which is to say that "Jewish" is no longer a nationality, nor even neccessarily a Faith, and that it is a heritage with a few ethnic remnant. So for them, being in exile in America is turned around, and instead they declare themselves to be home, to be Americans, and to be properly assimilated right down to baseball and hotdogs. To put it this way, when they were in Europe, and they saw Gentiles putting a sausage on a role with mustard, it was ordinary food, and not kosher. It was "drek fur goyim." They wouldn't eat such things. In America, they stopped worrying about kosher, and suddenly they ate sausages on roles, and called them hotdogs on buns. They were a symbol of America, albeit an old European food, but they ate it with gusto and declared themselves to be Amayrakans. No longer Children of Israel, waiting to go home. A large percentage of Jews writing in America show this sausage to hotdog conversion, metaphorically. Only a few are either unabashedly children of Israel in exile, or, just plain agnostic, generic Americans who write about anything but things-Jewish, and barely associate with anything Jewish.

Learning that America was full of the same types of anti-Semites as Mother Europe eventually spawned a lot of cynicism in Jewish literature in America, as well.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noman View Post
Other authors I grew out of were Isaac B. Singer and Leon Uris-Uris especally on his "Trinity" novel--the 1916 IRA didnt act generally like that!
Leon Uris is a relatively good author, but fiction is fiction in the end, not history! Have you read Exodus?
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:05 PM
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Yes have read Uris Exodus -mostaly novelized of course
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:38 AM
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Yes have read Uris Exodus -mostaly novelized of course
I have read Redemption, if I get around to reading another of his works, I think I ll choose Exodus.
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