May 13, 2013
In Crossing Cairo, Rabbi Ruth Sohn has written a compelling portrait of her and her family’s experiences living in Egypt. Advised not to reveal that they are Jewish, they discover what it means first to hide and then increasingly to share their Jewish identity. Would it be possible to cross the barriers of language, culture, and religion to form real friendships and find a home among Egyptians? As she navigates new routines of daily life, finds an Arabic teacher, and gets to know the mysterious veiled woman who came with the rental of their apartment, Sohn takes us with her on a remarkable journey as she encounters the many faces of Cairo. After the fall of Mubarak, she returns to Cairo to find a newly exuberant and infectious patriotism and hope. Throughout this probing contemplation of self and other in a world that is foreign and in many ways inimical to her own as an American Jew, Sohn shows how even the seemingly mundane events of daily life can yield unexpected discoveries.