The Dias­po­ra and the Lost Tribes of Israel

Amotz Asa-El
  • Review
By – September 24, 2012

When we get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to look at both the visu­al and tex­tu­al sto­ry of the dis­per­sion of the Jew­ish peo­ple and of the lost tribes of Israel, the extra­or­di­nary and per­haps unique nature of the sur­vival of the Jew­ish nation comes into clear­er focus. That alone makes The Dias­po­ra and the Lost Tribes of Israel by Amotz Asa-El an impor­tant book. Schol­ar­ly books in recent decades have exam­ined this aspect of Jew­ish his­to­ry but this vol­ume presents the infor­ma­tion in a more acces­si­ble form and in a beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed manner. 

Asa-El, The Jerusalem Posts exec­u­tive direc­tor, with many years of expe­ri­ence as a pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish his­to­ry, has clear­ly retold the sto­ry of the migra­tion of Jews through­out the world which began in the 6th cen­tu­ry B.C.E. The book retells the sto­ry of the Jew­ish exile and of the var­i­ous process­es by which the exiles were inte­grat­ed into the life of their host coun­tries while try­ing to main­tain their Jew­ish identities. 

More than 270 mag­nif­i­cent illus­tra­tions and pho­tographs con­vey a visu­al sto­ry that spans con­ti­nents and cen­turies. Includ­ed are maps, paint­ings and posters, and pho­tographs of sculp­tures, illu­mi­na­tions, archi­tec­tur­al fea­tures, reli­gious objects, and the var­i­ous Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties them­selves. The text express­es the many com­plex ideas of this vast his­toric migra­tion using lan­guage that should be under­stand­able to all read­ers. In com­bi­na­tion with the beau­ti­ful illus­tra­tions, it makes an attrac­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of the fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry of Jew­ish life out­side Israel.

Mar­tin Fish­er, M.D., is the Chief of the Divi­sion of Ado­les­cent Med­i­cine and the Med­ical Direc­tor of the Eat­ing Dis­or­ders Pro­gram at the Cohen Chil­dren’s Med­ical Cen­ter of the North Shore-Long Island Jew­ish Health Sys­tem in New Hyde Park, New York.

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