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June 1, 2003

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i 16 Southeastern Virginia Jewish News June 1,2003 Journalist "a lightning rod for thoughts provoking commentary' By Dana Adler Rosen Asst. Book Review Editor Longitude & Attitudes: Exploring the Worm After September 11 by Thomas L. Friedman Farrar Straus Giroux, New York 2002 379 pp., $26.00 I can see why journalist Thomas Friedman won his third Pulitzer Prize in the Spring of 2002. As foreign affairs colum- nist for The New York Times, he is a lightning rod for thought pro- yoking commentary. Some may consider him pedantic or even arrogant. Some may feel he is too critical of the Israeli settlements. But I always like his style. This insightful col- lection of essays is divided into three sections. It begins with pre- 9/11 warnings. Ten of his columns from the year before set up the time period and make us look back to the early warning signs. The unsettling part was reading his actual 9/11 essay. It was published that morning and read by millions as the planes were turning buildings and green fields into fireballs on that fate- ful day. Written from Jerusalem, he related that his daughter was concerned as he was leaving for Israel, thinking it was too dan- gerous. "September 11, 2001 was such a supremely American moment. I wish I could have gone through it with my own family. But random violence often bonds us with the most unlikely people - the passengers in an airplane, the nameless seat- mate on a bus, or the faceless crowd in an elevator. September 11 found me in Israel, far from home, with a cab driver I barely knew and secretaries I had never met ... Just as New York Times readers were finishing their breakfasts that morning .... four hijacked airliners were slam- ming into the World Trade Center, a field in Pennsylva- nia, and the Pentagon, just a few miles from my own house. My family thought I was at Ground Zero by being in Jerusalem, and it turned out to be the other way around." The second part contains a compilation of his columns post 9/11. They are the raison d'etre for reading this book. The third part contains his notes. He had so much information but lit- tle space to write in. The notes allow the reader to see where he is coming from, whom he spoke with, and how he got to his opin- ions, even it we do not agree with them. He can be controver- sial, but you cannot say that he does not present food for thought. As be says, he has the best job in the world. He has no censure from editors, decides what he wants to write about, decides what side he will take, and hops on a plane when he needs to find out more about what is going on in that part of the world. He tends to focus on the Middle East as well as glob- alization. His byline reflects that he is frequently writing from BOOK REVIEWS Payday Payroll Services confirms that all taxes and reports are filed on time... 6UARANTEED. We keep the IRS off your back and let you enjoy pain-free paydays. (Over $100,000,000 of taxes paid, penahy-free in 2002) I PAYDAY I 7STLNIS. rdl,um those regions. No one can accuse him of writing in a vacuum. The columns are systemati- cally less than three pages. The length makes them easy to read in snippets or during longer peri- ods for reflection. He has suc- cessfully been able to pin point differences in the world from super- powers to super individu- als. It is a recurring theme that now there is only one super Dana power and We ale fighting super individuals who do not even have the benefit of military strength but have the brilliant benefit of the Internet. (How to build bombs, how to move money, how to fly a plane, etc.) In his Forward he expects four reactions when reading his columns and any one will do. Friedman writes, "One reaction is for them to read a column and say; I didn't know that. Sometimes it's fun to try to be a teacher. Another reac- tion is for them to read a column and say; You know, I never looked at it that way before. It's also satisfying to give people a different perspective on events. Still another reaction -- my favorite, really, as a columnist -- is for them to read a column and declare: You said exactly what I feel, but I didn't quite know how to express it. And finally, anoth- er appropriate reaction is for them to read my column and say: I hate you and everything you stand for. A column is defined as much by the people who hate it as by those who love it. I want to challenge, to provoke, and, at times, to get some of my readers angry. I am not looking to do it by provoking just to provoke. I am looking to do it by being very clear about what I feel. If I were afraid to do that, I would not be doing my job." Friedman is a brilliant and persuasive writer. He has a lot to say, he says it well, and he knoWS his subject area. It is tempting to listen and agree (most of tbe time, at least.) Double Thread takes readers down lane into English and Jewish roots A Double Thread (Growing Up English and Jewish in London) by John Gross. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, Publisher. 2002. Pp. 190. $23.50. By Israel Zoberman Oxford educated author John Gross, London's Sunday Telegraph theater critic, takes us on a tour-de- force down nostalgic memory lane, opening enchanting windows into both his English and Jewish roots. He proves in the process that one can faithfully, but with inevitable compromises, live in two distinct worlds and be enriched by their mutual encounter. Gross masterfully reaches into a unique past of his immigrant East European family, steeped in Yid- dish culture and traditional Judaism. They ft settled in Lon- don's East End of the 1920's in search of a safer and better life while maintaining their religio-eth- nic identity, proudly transmitting it to their son John along with an abiding attachment to the English legacy. The dominant drive was to eventually depart from East End to the suburbs which excelling in the clothing industry, the major busi- ness, made possible. Life was not without poverty for some and phys- ical reminders of the World War U German bombing, "But there was also abundant energy and a con- stant appetite for amusement and entertainment." Gross claims that the degree of crime there is now being inflated and rather emphasizes the intimate nature of a close-knit community. Sporting events were most popular, recalling the famous boxing pro- motet, Jack Solomons,and the Jew- ish as well boxer A1 Phillips. The humor-sprinkled reminis- cences of admirable recall and probable research of a well- designed tapestry of names, even books and movies attest to tire author's cultural genius. There , were misled immigrants l arrived in London thinking :i they reached New York, their pt letted destination. They sought acculturate and even assimilate w the new culture. One tailor, Abe, borrowed Iris shop's street's name, Wentworth, for his last name. Particularly touching is Gross's close relation" ship with his father, a hard-world'g. and kind'hearted physiciaii wh0r0 as a child he often accompanied to visit patients with some staying i r housiri He even ot a piece. poo g.  "It of advice from his astute father, you want to be a writer, you ought to see how people live?' Of course, patients would als0 come to their home all hours of rite day and night. Dr. Gross was appreciated by his Jewish and Den" tile patients alike and had good rela[ tions with his Christian colleague' Unfortunately, there was opposidh though in the 1930s by the Brlu,'" medical associations to admit JeV" ish refugee physicians. In the fall 0t 1939, with war's outbreak, the fa. ily found temporary refuge  farm in Shropshire and the hosw'v strangers were most hospitable. The author was touched by Holocaust particularly through.u pain of his father, whose Pltl  hometown of Gorokhov was say agely destroyed, lending an,Uni standable note to the family s . support for the State of Israel. l, book is a lasting monument ereO., to a colorful and complex P_' which continues to shape the l #" sent. Rabbi Dr Israel Zoberman is the spit; . Be, itual leader of Congrega,on ._m. Chaverim in rginia Beach, rg_*.i Born in Kazakhstan in 1945 to .5'i Holocaust survivors, fie was ra,se Haifa, Israel.