At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden
A Jew's Search for God With Christians and Muslims in the Holy LandBook - 2001
Yossi Klein Halevi's first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, a remarkable coming-of-age story, was lauded by the New York Times as being "of burning importance ... a drama central to the very soul of Jewish life." Now, in At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden, Halev#65533; describes his unprecedented and extraordinary spiritual journey to discover, as a religious Israeli Jew, a common spiritual language with his Christian and Muslim neighbors in the Holy Land.
While religion has fueled the violent conflict plaguing the Middle East, Halevi wondered whether it could be a source of unity as well. To find the answer, he began a two-year exploration of the devotional life of Christianity and Islam. He followed their holiday cycles, befriended Christian monastics and Islamic mystics, and joined them in prayer in monasteries and mosques -- searching for wisdom and holiness in places that are usually off-limits to outsiders of other faiths.
In this gripping work, Halevi candidly reveals how he fought to resolve his own fears and anger as a Jew and came to relate to Christians and Muslims as fellow spiritual seekers. He chronicles the difficulty of overcoming obstacles -- theological, political, historical, and psychological -- that separate believers of the three monotheistic faiths. And he introduces a dynamic range of fascinating individuals attempting to reconcile the dichotomous heart of this sacred place -- a struggle central to Israel, but which resonates for us all.
Written in lyrical prose, Halevi takes his search for God into the heart of the Middle Eastern conflict. He insists on a spirituality that isn't escapist but instead confronts the wounds of history. The result is a book startlingly original and bold, one that embraces and transcends the categories of politics and faith.