Charles London represents many within the Jewish community. Jewish by birth and history, but not by practice, before the summer of 2004, Mr. London had no interest in the faith or the history of his ancestors. In the summer of 2004, while doing relief work in Bosnia, he stumbled upon a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community that was trying to rebuild a city nearly destroyed by war. Inspired by what he saw, Mr. London traveled around the world visiting different Jewish communities and recording his experiences.
The result is his 2010 book, Far From Zion. The interviewees, instead of making Aaliyah, are choosing to remain in the Diaspora. The interviewees include the caretaker of all but forgotten synagogue in Rangoon, a store owner selling Jewish themed jewelry in Iran, an African tribe who adopted the Jewish faith as their own, East Coast transplants celebrating Hanukkah in small town Arkansas and a professor in Cuba equally as proud of his religious faith as his Communist beliefs.
I found this book to be a very interesting read. What I was shown was that Judaism, in it’s many forms, is alive and thriving. The practice of Judaism varies from community to community, but it is as alive as it has ever been.
I recommend this book.