Wednesday Morning Book Group

book cover - Heroes and Hustlers, Hard Hats and Holy Men - Inside the New Israel - Ze'ev ChafetsWednesday mornings, 11 am – noon*

Current book: Heroes and Hustlers, Hard Hats and Holy Men – Inside the New IsraelZe’ev Chafets, William Morrow & Co. (1986)

Topic: Contemporary Israel

An informal, breezy assessment of contemporary Israel by an American Jew who migrated there in the late 1960s, got into politics, served the Begin government as press officer, and has never ceased observing the leaders and people of his adopted country with a keen eye and an independent mind. “A nation that doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up” is his description, but he finds much that is positive even if the unresolved problems remain and the early Zionist ideal is a shattered dream. – Foreign Affairs, Winter 1986/87


Chafets, an American-born Israeli journalist who was director of the Israeli Government Press Office (1977-82), has written a wry, perceptive account of his adopted country. Unlike Amos Oz, whose recent In the Land of Israel ( LJ 11/15/83) portrayed a country bereft of idealism and torn apart by extremists, Chafets writes from a positive perspective. While he never minimizes Israel’s problems or offers glib solutions, he celebrates the average Israeli’s ability to live with myriad contradictions: there is a tennis-playing insurance executive who goes off to war every few months; a prostitute who boasts of her descent from a famous rabbi; a Chinese restaurant and a Talmudic academy in the same building. Chafets’s engrossing analysis of Israel belongs in most libraries. Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS.  –Library Journal, © 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Zev Chafets is the author of eleven books of fiction, media criticism, and social and political commentary. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and a former columnist for the New York Daily News.

Get the book

Heroes and Hustlers, Hard Hats and Holy Men – Inside the New Israel is available in hardcover and paperback editions from third-party distributors through, and other booksellers. Class meets every week on Wednesday from 11:00am-12:00pm at Temple Sinai. For a fun read into stories of our past, please join us when you can. If you don’t have a book, not to worry, you can listen too.

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*Check weekly announcements or the online calendar in case of cancellation or change in schedule.