Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist
The Story of a Transformation
Now available in paperback for the first time, with a new introduction, the poignant and insightful memoir from Yossi Klein Halevi, the award-winning journalist and author of the acclaimed Like Dreamers—a coming-of-age story about a traumatic family history, radical politics, and spiritual transformation that speaks to a new generation struggling to understand what it means to be Jewish in America.
The child of a Holocaust survivor, Yossi Klein Halevi grew up in 1960s Brooklyn perceiving reality through the lens of his family’s brutal past. Increasingly identifying with their history of suffering, he regarded the non-Jewish world with fear and loathing. Determined to take action—and seek retribution—he became a disciple of the late rabbi Meir Kahane and a member of the radical fringe of the American Jewish community.
In this wry and moving account, Halevi explores the deep-rooted anger of his adolescence and early adulthood that fueled his increasingly aggressive activism. He reveals how he started to question his beliefs—and his self-inflicted suffering as a hostage of history—and see the world from his own clear perspective.
As a journalist and author, Halevi has dedicated himself to fostering interfaith reconciliation. Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist explains how such a transformation can happen—giving hope that peaceful coexistence between faiths is possible.
“Of burning importance. Mr. Halevi’s achievement is to make his own coming of age in marginal Brooklyn seem a drama central to the very soul of Jewish life.”
-JONATHAN ROSEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Edgy with irony and urban humor.”
-R.Z. SHEPARD, TIME
-STEW ALBERT, TIKKUN
“Engrossing. A profound look at the children of a Holocaust survivor burdened with the knowledge that his very existence is a miracle and the need to prove that the miracle wasn’t sqauandered on him.”
“Chillingly prescient… Fortunately, we have Mr. Halevi’s fine memoir to explain the way in which a few Jews can take on some of the atr5ributes of their worst enemies.”
-RICHARD BERNSTEIN, NEW YORK TIMES
“Yossi Klein Halevi’s poignant memoir has all the makings of a classic.”
-ROCHELLE FURSTENBERG, MOMENT
“Arresting and powerful. My own urgent reading brought to mind another youthful autobiography, of another generation – Thomas Merton’s The Seven-Storey Mountain. What these two indelible memoirs have in common is a fierce purity of will and a poignant striving for what is humanly and divinely worthy.
“Yossi Klein Halevi has written a Jewish ‘On the Road.’”
-MAX APPLE, AUTHOR ROOMMATES: MY GRANDFATHER’S STORY