The Ship to Nowhere: On Board the Exodus

  • Review
By – May 9, 2017

The Ship to Nowhere: On Board the Exo­dus is a part true, part fic­tion­al­ized sto­ry of one family’s jour­ney aboard the Exo­dus. We fol­low eleven-year-old Rachel Lan­des­man, her sis­ter, and their moth­er as they set off aboard theSS Pres­i­dent Warfield, the ship com­mis­sioned to take them from France to Pales­tine. The ship is escort­ed the whole way by a British war­ship, deter­mined to block entry into the Holy Land at all costs. Along the way, we are intro­duced to oth­er chil­dren aboard the ship. As we learn their sto­ries, we see bits and pieces of the dev­as­ta­tion caused by the Holo­caust. We also read about the brav­ery of the young rebels who helped many sur­vivors reach Israel.

As the ship nears Pales­tine, its true name, Haganah Ship Exo­dus 1947, is revealed, and the flag of Israel is flown over­head. As soon as the Exo­dus cross­es into Pales­tin­ian waters, the war­ship bom­bards it, first with tear gas, then by ram­ming into its side. The pas­sen­gers are tak­en from the dam­aged ves­sel and are sent back to Europe but no coun­try will take in the refugees. They are final­ly forced to return to Europe to wait until the state of Israel is declared and they can com­plete their journey.

Author Rona Ara­to com­bines the facts sur­round­ing the Exo­dus and Rachel’s real jour­ney with added fic­tion­al char­ac­ters to cre­ate a dra­mat­ic retelling of this coura­geous voy­age. She has scat­tered many actu­al pho­tographs from this time peri­od through­out the book, help­ing to set the stage and allow­ing us to ride along with Rachel and her fam­i­ly. The Ship to Nowhere: On Board the Exo­dus is an excel­lent book with a com­pelling sto­ry for chil­dren ages 914. It is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed both for its reli­able infor­ma­tion and for the engag­ing way that the infor­ma­tion is presented.

Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

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