Four Thou­sand Years of Jew­ish His­to­ry: Then and Now

Jack Lef­court
  • Review
By – August 30, 2011
Four Thou­sand Years of Jew­ish His­to­ry: Then and Now is an engag­ing sur­vey of Jew­ish his­to­ry from Abram through the Jew­ish world today. Fac­tu­al snip­pets are writ­ten in text box­es mak­ing them easy to dis­tin­guish and acces­si­ble to all. The graph­ics include car­toon delin­eations rep­re­sent­ing the cos­tume and cus­toms of the time being rep­re­sents. Also includ­ed are pho­tographs and artis­tic rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the mate­r­i­al, includ­ing a pic­ture of Michelangelo’s Prophet Isa­iah and Rembrandt’s Jew­ish Bride. There are two cross­word puz­zles includ­ed at the end of each chap­ter for the read­er to review the mate­r­i­al read thus far. One inac­cu­ra­cy is in the map of Israel today which depicts the Golan Heights region as part of Syr­ia (the West Bank and Gaza Strip are depict­ed as sep­a­rate enti­ties). Lef­court depicts the Jew­ish peo­ple in the con­text of world his­to­ry and polit­i­cal events. Each time peri­od is depict­ed by a chap­ter on the his­tor­i­cal ele­ment and one on the reli­gious impli­ca­tions. The his­tor­i­cal and reli­gious aspects are based on Jew­ish writ­ings, Bib­li­cal as well as his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments. The infor­ma­tion is pre­sent­ed as fac­tu­al and is as objec­tive as this sub­ject may present itself. Even the reli­gious sen­ti­ments are pre­sent­ed fac­tu­al­ly and with sen­si­tiv­i­ty to all denom­i­na­tions. The final chap­ter reviews the events lead­ing up to the Dias­po­ra. An inter­est­ing twist is the final ques­tion of how many oth­er Jews are out there that were lost to the Dias­po­ra wan­der­ings. Some of the pos­si­ble sites of the Lost Tribes are pre­sent­ed with car­toon rep­re­sen­ta­tions. For those look­ing to become lit­er­ate in Jew­ish his­to­ry this is a absorb­ing intro­duc­to­ry overview, although the lack of an index and list of bib­li­o­graph­ic sources is unfor­tu­nate. This book is appro­pri­ate for youth begin­ning at age 11, although many adults may ben­e­fit from the expanse of infor­ma­tion provided.
Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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