Israeli Life and Leisure in the 21st Century

Michaell J. Leit­ner & Sara F. Leit­ner, eds.
  • Review
By – October 27, 2015

This very fun­ny book can be picked up and read in its entire­ty or sec­tion by sec­tion, in any order you choose. Israeli Life and Leisure in the 21st Cen­tu­ry is a series of 53 essays about, as the title implies, Israeli life. It is not about pol­i­tics or ten­sions; it is not about any of the issues we read about in the news. The numer­ous con­trib­u­tors to this work are play­ers in their fields — tourism or nature, kib­butz life or sports, and, of course, Israeli dance. 

There are also essays on wine and essays on beer. There is an exten­sive look at the Israeli wed­ding. And there is a major debate about kib­butz life. 

Michael and Sara Leit­ner have com­piled a book about real life in Israel, a book about au­thentic Israel. The Leit­ners are from Cal­i­for­nia; after liv­ing in Israel for a time they con­tin­ue to spend long peri­ods there. This work ben­e­fits from an enchant­i­ng com­bi­na­tion of laid-back Cal­i­for­nia civil­i­ty and Israeli chutzpah. 

In his sev­er­al essays for this book Michael Leit­ner uses exam­ples of ways to teach coex­is­tence through sports. Leit­ner cre­at­ed Unit­ed Soc­cer For Peace, a Jew­ish – Arab soc­cer pro­gram that now has 40,000 chil­dren play­ing not against one anoth­er, but togeth­er. He uses sports and games as tools for con­flict management. 

What makes this book unique is that it unveils the beau­ty and com­plex­i­ty of Israel with­out focus­ing on secu­ri­ty and pol­i­tics. This is a book about life’s lessons and an entertain­ing look at Israeli society.

Relat­ed Content:

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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