The Scat­tered Tribe: Trav­el­ing the Dias­po­ra from Cuba to India to Tahi­ti & Beyond

  • Review
By – February 28, 2012

Ben Frank’s lat­est trav­el book is a guide for the Jew­ish trav­el­er to Rus­sia (includ­ing Siberia), Tahi­ti, Viet­nam, Bur­ma-Myan­mar, India, Moroc­co (and Alge­ria, albeit briefly), Cuba, and Israel. Though the final des­ti­na­tion on that list has been dealt with bet­ter else­where, the oth­er des­ti­na­tions are all han­dled with knowl­edge and enthu­si­asm. A vet­er­an jour­nal­ist, Frank is obvi­ous­ly an expe­ri­enced trav­el­er and a good researcher who is adept at find­ing Jew­ish des­ti­na­tions in far-flung locales, as well as col­or­ful char­ac­ters in those places. He always seems to locate a good place to wor­ship and good spots to eat, and he’s done his best to make things as cur­rent and use­ful as possible.

Like a curi­ous tourist, Frank’s prose tends to wan­der off a bit and it also cir­cles back on the same infor­ma­tion at times. This is not a book you’ll remem­ber for the writ­ing. It can, how­ev­er, be a valu­able resource for the Jew­ish trav­el­er or even just some­one who wants to know a bit about some of the unlike­ly spots where Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties are doing their best to sur­vive. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, photographs.

David Cohen is a senior edi­tor at Politi­co. He has been in the jour­nal­ism busi­ness since 1985 and wrote the book Rugged and Endur­ing: The Eagles, The Browns and 5 Years of Foot­ball. He resides in Rockville, MD.; his wife, Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen, writes Jew­ish children’s books.

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