The Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s political, religious, and social implications have been profound, but how has this decades-old struggle over land generationally and personally impacted individuals who live there? Find out at a free public University of Findlay “community read” presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 13, offered by Lis Harris, author of “In Jerusalem: Three Generations of an Israeli Family and a Palestinian Family.” Her talk, which will include an audience question-and-answer session, will begin at 7 p.m. in Winebrenner Building’s TLB Auditorium.
Harris, an accomplished storyteller and academic, is a professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, was a staff writer at The New Yorker for 25 years, and also authored “Holy Days: The Worlds of a Hasidic Family,” “Rules of Engagement: Four American Marriages,” and “Tilting at Mills: Green Dreams, Dirty Dealings and the Corporate Squeeze.”
As an American, secular, diasporic Jew, Harris grew up with the knowledge of the historical wrongs done to Jews. In adulthood, she developed a growing awareness of the wrongs they, in turn, had done to the Palestinian people. This juxtaposition compelled her to seek out more intimate and comprehensive narratives that delved deeper into the conflict’s consequences than traditional political accounts and insider assessments have done.
Shuttling back and forth over 10 years between East and West Jerusalem, Harris learned about the lives of two families: the Israeli Pinczowers/Ezrahis and the Palestinian Abuleils. She came to know members of each family – young and old, religious and secular, male and female. As they shared their histories with her, she looked at how each family survived the losses and dislocations that defined their lives; how, in a region where war and its threat were part of the very air they breathed, they gave children hope for their future; and how the adults’ understanding of the conflict evolved over time.
For “In Jerusalem,” published in September by Beacon Press, Harris combines a decade of historical research with political analysis to create a moving portrait of one of the most complicated and controversial conflicts of our time.
Book copies will be for sale at the event.