Yossi Klein Halevi
Halevi was born and raised in Borough Park, Brooklyn in New York in a Jewish family. His father was a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor. He completed a BA in Jewish Studies in Brooklyn College in 1978, and completed his MA in Journalism at Northwestern University. In 1982, he moved to Israel with his wife Sarah (née Lynn Rintoul).
Journalistic and literary career
He worked as a senior writer for the bi-weekly magazine The Jerusalem Report from its founding until 2002. Halevi wrote a column for The Jerusalem Post, and wrote regularly on Israeli issues for the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times, and occasionally for the New York Times and Washington Post. His first book, Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, was published in 1995. In it, he tells of his youthful attraction to, and subsequent break with, the militant Rabbi Meir Kahane.
In 2001 he published At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. The book tells of his spiritual journey as a religious Jew into the worlds of Christianity and Islam in Israel. Halevi joined the prayers and meditations in mosques and monasteries, in an attempt to experience the devotional lives of his non-Jewish neighbors and to create a religious language of reconciliation among the three monotheistic faiths.
Halevi is a Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, a Jerusalem-based research institute and educational center. He is Israel correspondent and contributing editor of The New Republic. He is a lecturer on American and Canadian campuses, focusing on politics and culture in Israel. In the fall of 2013, he began teaching at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Halevi has been active in Middle East reconciliation efforts, and serves as chairman of Open House, an Arab-Jewish educational project in the working class town of Ramle. He was a founder and board member of the now-defunct Israeli-Palestinian Media Forum, which brought together Israeli and Palestinian journalists.
Halevi and his wife Sarah broke with the Orthodox community because of Orthodoxy's attitudes towards women. They decided that they would not raise their daughter "as a second-class Jew" and instead began frequenting the Conservative synagogue in their neighborhood.
In 1985, the documentary film Kaddish, produced by Steve Brand, which focuses on his relationship with his father, a Holocaust survivor, was released. The Village Voice called it one of the best ten films of the year.
- Memoirs of a Jewish Extremist, New York-Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1995. ISBN 978-0-316-49860-9
- At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew's Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land. New York: Morrow. 2001.; HarperCollins, 2002, ISBN 978-0-06-050582-0
- Am Eingang zum Garten Eden: Suche nach Hoffnung mit den Religionen im Heiligen Land, ISBN 978-3-8306-7371-2, EOS-Verlag, St. Ottilien, 2009.
- בפתח גן העדן, ISBN 965-07-1539-8, Shalom Hartman Institute, Keter, Jerusalem, Israel, 2007.
- Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation, HarperCollins, 2013