Eran Sharon knows nothing of his father except that he left when Eran was a baby. Now a senior in high school and living with his protective but tight-lipped mother, Eran is a passionate young man deeply interested in social justice and equality. When he learns that the Houston police have launched a program to increase traffic stops, Eran organizes a peaceful protest. But a heated moment at the protest goes viral, and a reporter connects the Sharon family to a tragedy fifteen years earlier — and asks if Eran is anything like his father, a supposed terrorist. Soon enough, Eran is wondering the same thing, especially when the people he’s gone to school and temple with for years start to look at him differently. Timely, powerful, and full of nuance, Rafi Mittlefehldt’s sophomore novel confronts the prejudices, fears, and strengths of family and community, striking right to the heart of what makes us who we are.
What Makes Us
Eran Sharon, an Israeli-American teenager, has always cared deeply about social justice. When a protest he leads in Houston, Texas gets media attention, reporters find out something he never knew: his father, a man he barely remembers, was killed shortly after committing a deadly act of domestic terrorism at an Israeli Day parade when Eran was not yet two years old. As the news spreads, Houston turns against Eran and his mother with dizzying speed. A growing xenophobic and antisemitic movement rises around them, isolating Eran and feeding his own doubts about his past and his future. Does his anger, which sometimes spins into uncontrollable fury, mean he will meet the same fate as his father? This resonant, relatable novel tackles complex themes with humor and empathy. Mittlefehldt’s carefully-written prose honors the little moments that truly shape us — connections with new and old friends, difficult conversations, and thrilling nighttime epiphanies.
Help support the Jewish Book Council.