Sat­ur­day Peo­ple, Sun­day Peo­ple: Israel through the Eyes of a Chris­t­ian Sojourner

Lela Gilbert
  • Review
By – March 1, 2013

Israel has a pow­er­ful voice on its behalf in the per­son of Lela Gilbert, author of Sat­ur­day Peo­ple, Sun­day Peo­ple. A Chris­t­ian, and an Adjunct Fel­low at the Hud­son Insti­tute, Mrs. Gilbert moved to Jerusalem, part­ly to ful­fill her fun­da­men­tal­ist father’s dream of return­ing to the Holy Land. 

The title is drawn from an Arab slo­gan, First, The Sat­ur­day Peo­ple; Then The Sun­day Peo­ple.” The author regards it as a believ­able threat to her con­cept of Israel as an endur­ing holy site for Chris­tians and Jews.

In this spir­it­ed mem­oir Mrs. Gilbert recounts her vis­its to homes all over the coun­try, her par­tic­i­pa­tion in Jew­ish hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions and con­ver­sa­tions about Israel’s prob­lems. Not all of it is pas­time read­ing. Basi­cal­ly, the book rep­re­sents an appeal for sup­port for Jews and Chris­tians against Moslem mistreatment.

A Fel­low (researcher) at the con­ser­v­a­tive Hud­son Insti­tute, Mrs. Gilbert is the author of many reli­gious­ly-ori­ent­ed books for Protes­tants and Catholics. Actu­al­ly, in Cal­i­for­nia, her sons sug­gest­ed that mom need­ed a change of pace and scenery. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, in Israel the Pod­horetz fam­i­ly, well known for right-wing posi­tions through Com­men­tary Mag­a­zine, are among her close friends.
The sec­ond part of the book con­sists of mate­r­i­al about the attempts of Moslems to expel Jews and Cru­saders” from their Near East­ern lands in the past. Mrs. Gilbert has a non-aca­d­e­m­ic, rather dis­or­der­ly approach. In this mixed bag the read­er will find his­to­ry, engag­ing per­son­al life sto­ries, rem­i­nis­cences about seders, and denun­ci­a­tions of Moslem cruelty.

Mrs. Gilbert’s huge right-wing Chris­t­ian fol­low­ing will sure­ly wel­come this book. As to Jew­ish read­ers, its strong neg­a­tive tone in regard to Moslems will prob­a­bly dis­cour­age sales from groups and syn­a­gogues with a more hope­ful accept-all-faiths phi­los­o­phy. Acknowl­edge­ments, Con­tents, Epi­logue, For Fur­ther Read­ing, Prologue.

Jane Waller­stein worked in pub­lic rela­tions for many years. She is the author of Voic­es from the Pater­son Silk Mills and co-author of a nation­al crim­i­nal jus­tice study of parole for Rut­gers University.

Discussion Questions