In the Land of Israel: My Family 1809-1949. Nitza Rosovsky
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At once an intimate account of a young girl's coming of age during the tempestuous times attending the birth of Israel and a rare record of Jewish family life in Palestine under the Ottomans dating to 1809, Nitza Rosovsky's In the Land of Israel: My Family 1809-1949 adds fresh insights into the narrative of Jewish migration from early nineteenth century Europe to the formation of a Jewish homeland. Author of the highly acclaimed Jerusalem Walks and a seventh generation sabra, Nitza Rosovsky writes with the grace, even-handedness, good humor, command and sharp eye of someone who knows her territory well. She tells the history of the Epstein, Ashkenazi, and Berman families and their early emigration from Moldova and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe to Tiberias, Safed and eventually Jerusalem. The pre-Zionist family history has been masterfully reconstructed over a thirty-year period from interviews with older family members and cumulative inferences from a host of eclectic sources including documentary fragments, inscriptions on a family bible and the Montefiore censuses. That introduction sets the stage for Nitza's often amusing, occasionally pointed and consistently poignant account of her adolescence in Jerusalem during the British Mandate and her mother's extended family, the Bermans, who established and operated the largest bakery in Jerusalem. From the vantage point of half a century, the story pivots around Nitza's mother, Leah Berman, a remarkable woman whose life, unrequited love and dedication to a family deeply rooted in Israel is in every sense the heart of the book. This unusual combination of historical perspective and personal narrative opens an irresistible window into seven generations of Jewish life in what was once Palestine and is now the modern state of Israel.