James Gibson

May 10, 2012

Rabbi James Gibson puts in long hours in his book-lined study at Temple Sinai, poring over scripture and theological texts. But, as he tells Josh Raulerson, he's also an avid reader of spy novels and contemporary history.

Lately, Rabbi Gibson has been reading:

Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side—where the archives are still closed—is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.

Yale University Press

David Grossman, To the End of the Land

Just before his release from service in the Israeli army, Ora's son Ofer is sent back to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, so that no bad news can reach her, Ora sets out on an epic hike in the Galilee. She is joined by an unlikely companion—Avram, a former friend and lover with a troubled past—and as they sleep out in the hills, Ora begins to conjure her son. Ofer's story, as told by Ora, becomes a surprising balm both for her and for Avram—and a mother's powerful meditation on war and family.


Speaking Volumes is a weekly conversation on books and reading with some of the people who make news in Pittsburgh. The program airs on 90.5 FM Mondays during Morning Edition, and Wednesdays during Essential Pittsburgh.

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