Having grown up in Minnesota Jessica Fishman moves to a land in the Middle East that is full of idiosyncrasies terrorists and beautiful olive-skinned men. When she arrives in Israel she is a wide-eyed immigrant hoping to survive on Zionism. But instead of working the land on a kibbutz or being swept off her feet by a strong sensitive Israeli soldier Jessica is faced with a barrage of ridiculous obstacles. She overcomes notorious Israeli bureaucracy makes embarrassing mistakes learning Hebrew serves in an army of teenagers and dates cocky Israelis until she finally meets one obstacle rooted in the very ideology that brought her to Israel that tests the core of her identity. With self-deprecating wit Jessica takes us on a personal journey through these challenges weaving a humorous yet heartbreaking tale about losing and finding identity and offering a seldom-before-seen snapshot of Israeli culture.
Jessica Fishman moved to Israel after graduating from Indiana University with degrees in journalism and business. The creator of the popular Aliyah Survival Blog Jessica has written a number of articles about Israel and her story has been featured in leading Israeli and Jewish media.
"Jessica Fishman dedicated her life to being Jewish. She left her whole life behind in Minnesota - including her Hadassah-President mother and her synagogue-centric family - in order to live in Israel serve as a Lone Soldier in the IDF represent Israel to the world in the IDF Spokesperson unit and search for a nice Jewish guy to spend her life with. Yet despite all this dedication - which came with its share of challenges and struggles - the Israeli government does not consider Jessica Jewish.
"Jessica has a crucial story to tell. Hers is a story about how the Jewish state deals with Jews of the world how fanatic versions of Orthodoxy have taken over vital areas of Israeli governance and how this antiquated system has instilled an entire society in cultures of judgment and exclusion rather than into an ethos of love and compassion. The story is required reading for anyone concerned with the moral compass of the Jewish state and the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on being Jewish in Israel today."
-Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman PhD is an award-winning author and leading Jewish feminist thinker educator and activist. She specializes in gender inclusion in the Jewish world and has worked with communities organizations and individuals around the world on advancing gender inclusion and gender equity. In August 2015 she founded The Center for Jewish Feminism to provide resources and connections among Jewish feminists around the world.
"Jessica's story provides a critical perspective for both Israelis and American Jewry. For all its sharp criticism of different facets of life in Israel it is a Zionist treatise anchored in a deep love for the State and its people. At the same time it presents a challenging indictment of the new generation of American Jewry. This is not a story of black and white but rather of Jewish life's complexity of core values and of the realities facing both major Jewish communities."-Rabbi Uri Regev Esq. CEO of Hiddush &ndash Freedom of Religion for Israel Inc.
"With wit wisdom and tears Jessica Fishman an idealist a Zionist and a Jew everywhere but Israel tells of her encounter with Israel's despicable refusal to accept non-Orthodox conversions. She wins some and loses some as she engages our emotions together with hers."-Mark Lavie award-winning journalist covering the Middle East and author of Broken Spring
"Jessica tells the story of her struggle for authenticity and belonging with honesty and humor even as we spiral intensely to the core of her being and identity-to her unapologetic truest self."-Rabbi Susan Silverman activist and author of Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful Broken World