The struggle to bring peace and justice to both Israelis and Palestinians remains as important as ever. And so too is the need to understand the history of the conflict, as well as the two peoples who stand at its center.
I often think of the historical experience and wisdom of my dear friend, Rabbi Leonard Beerman z"l (pictured), who had a deeply personal angle on the conflict. After serving in the U.S. Marines, Leonard joined the Haganah, the underground Jewish militia in Palestine fighting for independence against local Palestinian Arabs. Following his experience, Leonard returned with new powers of understanding and empathy for both peoples, in addition to a life-long commitment to pacifism.
One of the people with whom Leonard most liked to discuss his passions and hopes about the conflict was his dear friend, Milton Viorst. In fact, Milton has dedicated his new book, Zionism: The Birth and Transformation of an Ideal, to "Rabbi Beerman and the other peacemakers, the greatest of the Zionists."
Milton's book offers fresh insight and a wide-angled lens on the movement that propelled the Jewish people from dispersion to the path of return to Palestine, where they encountered not an empty land but a native population fearful of being displaced. The book discusses the arc of the Zionist idea, from its European birthplace to its location at the center of the conflict between Jews and Arabs over historic Palestine.
His book is timely and reminds us of the value of studying the past in order to grasp the present. And this is why Americans for Peace Now wants you to read this book. APN wants you to educate yourselves. So too would our friend and teacher, Rabbi Leonard Beerman, who supported Americans for Peace Now, as does Milton Viorst.
Please honor the memory of Rabbi Beerman today by making a contribution of at least $90. If you do so, APN will send a copy of Milt’s newest book (enter "Book" in the comments section to indicate you'd like one; all but $15 of your donation will be tax-deductible).
May Rabbi Beerman’s name (z”l) be a blessing, and there is no better legacy than "peacemaker". Thank you, Milt, for doing this.
David N. Myers
Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History, UCLA