Slow Days

Here’s a quick update to let you all know that I am still alive. The last few days have been fairly slow, with no more interviews yet scheduled until mid-week. I spent the last half of last week doing my best to get a hold of new people to interview. Some have responded, some have not.

I have also been slowly working my way through Shlomo Sand’s controversial new book, The Invention of the Jewish People. It should be done by the end of the week, and with any luck I’ll write up a review for the blog shortly. I also hope to read soon a very recently released book by Nadav Shelef, Evolving Nationalism: Homeland, Identity, and Religion in Israel. The subject is uncomfortably close to my own, which could be a very good thing or a very bad thing. Either way, I am trying to obtain a copy.

Otherwise, life in Jerusalem has been very pleasant of late. I am finding my favorite cafes to hide in during the day to enjoy the air conditioning, and I am becoming increasingly familiar with the city as I pound the pavement every day. Research is progressing apace, writing is moving along bit by bit, my Hebrew is getting better, and I still have lots of time here to get it all sorted. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more interesting news.

3 Responses to Slow Days

  1. Kevin Brook says:

    Since my book “The Jews of Khazaria, Second Edition” disproves Sand’s claims about Jewish origins stemming entirely from outside of ancient Israel, it would be hasty if you came to any conclusions about Sand’s arguments without first reading my book and comparing our approaches, arguments, and data.

    As an academic you surely know how important it is to thoroughly research any issue that’s controversial, as you admit this one is, and to cite writers from both sides of the issue.

    Note these comments in an article this week by Ben Dror Yemini: “Serious academics – there are still some out there and they are still the majority – refute most of the claims in the book. This did not interfere with the book becoming a best-seller (outside of Israel). … No book refuting Sand’s nonsense, no matter how excellently researched and written, will be met with similar success.” –

    While you heard a lot about Sand’s book, you and your readers might not have heard about mine before. This is due in part to irresponsible reporting in major newspapers like The New York Times, where a journalist who interviewed me about Sand for close to an hour neglected to mention my book.

  2. Kevin Brook says:

    I meant to write The Wall Street Journal, not The New York Times.

    The New York Times didn’t mention my book in the past year either, but at least they have the excuse that nobody from there spoke with me.

  3. arielzellman says:

    Hi Kevin,
    thank you so much for your input.
    In truth, as I am not a historian I do not feel particularly well equipped to critique his historiography. My emphasis will likely be on his employment of the nationalist literature as relevant for his framing of the argument.
    That said, I will eagerly check out your book when I return to the states.

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