Dear Zealots

Amos Oz

December 18, 2018

From the incom­pa­ra­ble Amos Oz comes a series of three essays: on the uni­ver­sal nature of fanati­cism and its pos­si­ble cures, on the Jew­ish roots of human­ism and the need for a sec­u­lar pride in Israel, and on the geopo­lit­i­cal stand­ing of Israel in the wider Mid­dle East and inter­na­tion­al­ly.

Dear Zealots is clas­sic Amos Oz — flu­id, rich, mas­ter­ly, and per­fect­ly timed for a world in which polar­iza­tion and extrem­ism are ris­ing every­where. The essays were writ­ten, Oz states, first and fore­most” for his grand­chil­dren: they are a patient, learned telling of his­to­ry, reli­gion, and pol­i­tics, to be thumbed through and stud­ied, clung to even, as we march toward an uncer­tain future.

Discussion Questions

It takes courage bor­der­ing on brava­do to write a new book about such con­tro­ver­sial and oft-trod mat­ters as con­flict in the Mid­dle East and the nature of the Jew­ish peo­ple: how, after all, would one find even a sin­gle new yet sup­port­able idea, let alone a whole book’s worth? Who would dare use poet­ic prose for such weighty mat­ters? And it seems all but impos­si­ble to make such a book acces­si­ble, short, poignant, com­pelling, and at times even tender.

This was Amos Oz’s unique genius. He wad­ed into tumul­tuous waters and emerged not only unscathed, but also bear­ing pre­cious gifts for the read­er: insight, hind­sight, and, it would seem, fore­sight — about the forces that shape our world today and that have defined glob­al events for millennia.

Packed with astute obser­va­tions, mem­o­rable anec­dotes, and the rich­ness of his­to­ry, the three short essays in Dear Zealots offer a quick read that will enrich read­ers of all back­grounds for many years to come.