Review of To Unify a Nation

By Kathe Pinchuck, AJL ReviewsTo Unify a Nation

Rabbi Dov Lipman was elected to the Israeli Knesset in 2013 on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party ticket. The party won a surprising 19 seats in the Knesset, with its representatives coming from diverse backgrounds, both in religious affiliation and culture. Since then, Rabbi Lipman has been active and vocal in addressing many issues, particularly those where religious and secular society clash—mandatory military or national service for all Israeli citizens, the role of women in Israeli society, marriage laws. Lipman argues that the greatest threat to the future of the Jewish people is the “abandonment of core Jewish values and ideals which include loving-kindness, respecting others, and not doing onto others what you don’t want done to yourself.”

This short volume is a personal manifesto that includes experiences that influenced Rabbi Lipman’s world view as well as observations on current Israeli events. Because of the nature of the essays, most references are not sourced in detail. While Rabbi Lipman does not shy away from some of today’s pressing issues, including African migrants and women wearing tallit (prayer shawl) and praying at the Kotel (the Western Wall), most of these matters have been festering for years and will not be solved quickly, even with a return to core Jewish values. He has had success in confronting local extremists and focusing on common ideals in Bet Shemesh. It will be interesting to see which aspects of Rabbi Lipman’s vision will be implemented and when during his promising political career. The book is a good choice for libraries whose patrons are interested in the history of modern Israel and its complicated politics.

This excerpt is from the Association of Jewish Libraries .

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