When we discuss subjects like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and issues involving questions of Jewish identity, we often devote attention to the intricacies and neglect to address a far more obvious, yet challenging question: Who is a Jew? In Religion or Ethnicity?: Jewish Identities in Evolution, a collection of essays by Zvi Gitelman, a series of writers strive to grapple with that question. As the book reveals, few other peoples occupy precisely the same ambiguous position between religion and ethnicity, nation and religion. The contributors address the question from a variety of angles— historical, literary, political, and even statistical. While it is certainly too ambitious to answer the question of who is a Jew in one series of essays, the collection does demonstrate that this question has challenged and, in many cases, invigorated Jewish life for centuries.
Bio: Jordan Hirsch is an intern at Guernica. Read his last recommendation “here”:http://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1091/staff_pick_jordan_hirsch/.