Review Of "America And The Holy Land" By M. Davis
Moshe Davis (Hebrew Univ., Jerusalem), author of The Emergence of Conservative Judaism (1963), seeks to demonstrate that concern for the Holy Land has been an integral facet of Americans' spiritual history. Puritans and Victorians, missionaries and liberals, Reform, Orthodox, and Conservative Jews expressed their fascination with Israel by labeling America a new Zion, naming towns after places in ancient Israel, making pilgrimages and even settling in Palestine, and protesting persecution of Jews. Davis argues that American Jews have always had a dual focus in affirming patriotism while showing collective concern for world Jewry. He shows that contemporary US support for the restoration and preservation of a Jewish homeland has deep historical and religious roots. The book ignores Americans who had no interest in or opposed religious or political Zionism, and it is better at summarizing views than analyzing social and cultural differences among those who supported giving Jews a homeland. In respect to the latter, it is similar to, and marginally better than, Gerson Greenberg's The Holy Land in American Religious Thought, 1620-1948 (CH, Jun'94). Brief chapters on wide-ranging topics, extensive footnotes, long quotations of important documents, and an annotated bibliography make this book a valuable reference source.
J. William Frost.
"Review Of "America And The Holy Land" By M. Davis".