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Messinger was the head of American Jewish World Service, an organization that had sent Sarah to El Salvador, India and Uganda to help people who were poor and to seek justice for people who were abused. Of A Cracking of the Heart, Messinger had written:
“This extraordinary book is a father’s tribute to an amazing daughter who took on the problems of her community and the problems of her world with no regard to her own physical limitations. Sarah was an active participant with and supporter of American Jewish World Service and did us proud with each of her contributions to greater global justice. We treasure the time we had with this activist who left the world too soon and are deeply moved by her father’s determination to tell her story that others might walk in her path.”
I thought that if Ruth Messinger could be so big-hearted, surely there were others on the left who could be so as well.
But I was destined to be disappointed. The editors of NextBook, which had since been renamed the Tablet, did contact me and promised to review the book. However, from the outset I realized something was wrong when they asked me if I had some event planned or another book coming out, so they could peg the story to that. I told them I didn’t want the review to be about me. If they wanted to do a story about my politics they should do that separately from the book. I wanted it to be about my daughter. This was her audience and she deserved that at least.
A Cracking of the Heart was published in October 2009. A book usually has a window of about two months to create its audience and this is the time when reviews are crucial. But many months passed and no review appeared in the Tablet. I wrote the editors several times and was assured it was coming. On September 3, 2010 – almost a year later – an article did appear but under the following title: “Beyond Repair – Is Tikkun Olam, the Jewish Concept of ‘Healing the World’ as Dangerous as David Horowitz Says It Is?” The article began by noting the publication of a new book I had written, Reforming Our Universities, which it mischaracterized as “a call to action against an academic system he argues has been hijacked by the radical left.” In point of fact, this book, which had nothing to do with my daughter, was not about the hijacking of the academic system by anyone but about my campaign to restore liberal academic freedom principles, which were already in place but ignored.
The caricature of my views continued through the rest of the article, which was mainly taken up with quotes from hostile leftists like Todd Gitlin who claimed, preposterously, that I was suggesting that Jews who embraced the concept of tikkun olam were “bad Jews who have forsaken their own people because of a misinterpretation of the text.” My daughter was mentioned in passing but with so little attention to her views that none of the twenty people who commented on the article even referred to her.
The Tablet was not the only Jewish magazine to ignore A Cracking of the Heart. I had made personal appeals to many others but only the Jewish Media Review published a review of the book. If it were not for my daughter I would have given up after these attempts, but I resolved to make another effort with the volume I had edited of her Collected Writings. This was not a book that I had written but was my daughter’s life work. She had devoted her days to causes shared by the editors of many magazines and websites of the left, such as Salon, which I had written for, and especially the progressive Jewish media, including the Tablet, Jewschool, the Jewish Journal, and so forth. None of them responded to my letters or reviewed her book or mine.
The Collected Writings of Sarah Horowitz contains her novel, short stories and poems, her commentaries on the Torah, and her writings about the Abayudayah, an African tribe that converted to Judaism in the 1920s and whose children Sarah taught on behalf of American Jewish World Service. These writings display Sarah’s mastery of her craft and reflect her large view of life. Their effect is inspirational. Both are available on Kindle and also in our Frontpage bookstore where we are offering both in a special combined offer. I hope my readers will take advantage of this offering both for her sake and for their own pleasure and enrichment.
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