The Kroc Institute | August 25, 2019
In her recently published book, “Days of Awe: Reimagining Jewishness in Solidarity with Palestinians” (University of Chicago Press, 2019), Atalia Omer traces the development of American Jewish solidarity with Palestinians and the diverse social movements that have shaped this advocacy. She also explores the implications of this developing solidarity for Jewish tradition and identity now and into the future.
Omer, associate professor of religion, conflict and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, began research for this book in 2013. She found Chicago to be an “epicenter of Jewish community organizing and justice work” and a space to ground her research, although she conducted interviews with Jews from across the U.S., both in person and online. She also interviewed non-Jewish Palestinian solidarity activists from in and beyond the U.S.
To frame the book, Omer chose a title referencing Jewish High Holy Days. The 10 days starting with Rosh Hashanah are commonly known as the Days of Awe, and are meant as a liminal space and time of introspection on sin, both individual and collective, prior to repentance on Yom Kippur.
“The title intends to capture a sense of grappling with sin and uncertainty undertaken by the activists I interviewed,” said Omer. “For many Jewish individuals, the Days of Awe are about disrupting the binaries that form and shape their lives and taking responsibility for their role in creating them.”
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