A challenge for younger Jewish generations is that of crafting a relationship with Israel, while having lived only during periods of Israel’s relative well-being. Unlike those of us who came of age either at the time of Israel’s independence, or in the periods of the Six Day War or Yom Kippur War, a generation of American Jews has no memory of the halutz period nor of the “miraculous” Israeli military victories against all odds. How then does one build a conception of what Israel means and how s/he wishes to relate to it? This is the challenge that A Dream of Zion raises and addresses. In its pages, over 100 Jewish leaders, mostly present leaders, but also some from past generations, address the importance of Israel to them. There is an attempt to represent a variety of backgrounds and ages. Included are politicians, rabbis, artists, actors, philosophers, academicians, students, philanthropists. Modeled deliberately after Jewish Lights’ successful and thoughtful I am Jewish, which brought together essays and writings about the meaning of being Jewish, this book is a useful tool for discussion groups, and adult learning, as well as general reading by those seeking to define their own relationship with Israel.
Rabbi Arnold D. Samlan is a Jewish educator and rabbi living in Miami, Florida. He serves as executive director of the Orloff Central Agency for Jewish Education of Broward County.