Born in CA; married; children: three. Education: University of California at Santa Cruz, B.A., 1976; Hebrew University of Jerusalem, M.A., 1985. Attended Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and Yeshivat Hamivtar, 1977-1980.
Home—Jerusalem, Israel. Office—Center for Millennial Studies, Boston University, 704 Commonwealth Ave., Ste. 205, Boston, MA 02215. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, editor, journalist, and poet. Jerusalem Post, editor and writer, 1983-90; Jerusalem Report, founding editor, senior editor, and columnist, 1990—. Boston University, Center for Millennial Studies, Boston, MA, associate.
National Jewish Book Award, for Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin.
(Editor) Seventy Facets: A Commentary on the Torah from the Pages of the "Jerusalem Report," Jason Aronson (Northvale, NJ), 1996.
The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, Free Press (New York, NY), 2000
The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of Settlements, 1967-1977, Times Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including New Republic, Ha'aretz, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Mother Jones. Contributor of poetry to magazines, including Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, California Quarterly, and Beloit Poetry Journal.
Journalist Gershom Gorenberg was born and raised in California, but when he traveled to Israel to study abroad for college, he felt at home there and decided to stay, gaining dual citizenship in the process. His affection for his adopted homeland affected his journalism career as well as his place of residence—in 1983 he cofounded the Jerusalem Report magazine, and many of his writings have been about Israel and Judaism. In 1996 he collaborated with other Jerusalem Report staffers to write Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin, which was so well received that it won the National Jewish Book Award. The same year, Gorenberg edited Seventy Facets: A Commentary on the Torah from the Pages of the "Jerusalem Report," a study of the Torah, the holy book of Judaism. According to Jewish tradition, there are many facets to the Torah. In Seventy Facets, experts in the field discuss and analyze each individual passage of the Torah. A contributor to Publishers Weekly felt that the "anthology explores with a jeweler's eye the many faceted beauty and wealth of Torah."
Gorenberg's first solo writing effort, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, was released in 2000. It provides background and analysis for the Middle East conflicts centered around Jerusalem. The area of the city known to Christians and Jews as the "Temple Mount" and to Muslims as the "Noble Sanctuary" is one of the world's holiest spots for each of these three major religions. As such, its ownership is the cause of many struggles in the region. In The End of Days, the author examines these religious battles from the viewpoint of each of the three faiths and hypothesizes as to why peace in this region is so hard to find. Lawrence K. Grossman, reviewing the book for the New Leader, found Gorenberg's study both "engaging and alarming," though he ultimately felt that the author oversimplified the problem in claiming a basis of religious fear of the apocalypse. American Prospect contributor Leah Platt concurred, observing that while the writing is "crisp and evocative," Gorenberg "misses an opportunity" to elaborate on the connection between politics and religion in these battles. A Publishers Weekly critic disagreed with the negative reviews, however, calling the book a "stellar contribution" to the field of study and one that is "indispensable" to those wishing to gain further knowledge of the subject. Additionally, Eugene J. Fisher, in an America article, felt that the way the author explains the fundamentalist beliefs of each of the three faiths gives a "good sense of their communities." Fisher concluded by noting that while there are many questions centered around the conflicts over the Temple Mount, "readers will find the answers here."
In 2006 Gorenberg released The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of Settlements, 1967-1977. At the end of the Six-Day War in 1967, there was some debate as to whether the Israelis, victorious after this brief but violent skirmish, had the right to settle on the land they had taken in their victory. Gorenberg did extensive research of recently available documents and interviewed various upper-echelon figures to reconstruct the decade during which these controversial settlements were built. This "remarkably insightful" work, according to New York Times Book Review contributor Jonathan D. Tepperman, is "a groundbreaking revision that deserves to reframe the entire debate" over whether Israel was morally correct in colonizing these rightfully earned yet already inhabited territories. Tom Segev, in a Foreign Affairs article, pointed out that while the author does cover that first decade following the war, he "largely misses the story of the non-ideological settlers who came later" and how they, too, affected the occupation of those lands. Segev did, however, despite noting Gorenberg's "limited focus," note that the book contains "interesting and original" theories. Tikkun contributor Cynthia Hoffman summed up The Accidental Empire as "the single most important piece of investigative reporting to date on the beginnings of Israel's settlement project."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, March 26, 2001, Eugene J. Fisher, review of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, p. 31.
American Prospect, January 29, 2001, Leah Platt, review of The End of Days, p. 45.
Booklist, February 15, 2006, Jay Freeman, review of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of Settlements, 1967-1977, p. 34.
Commentary, April, 2001, Daniel Pipes, review of The End of Days, p. 68.
Economist, April 7, 2001, review of The End of Days, p. 1.
Foreign Affairs, May-June, 2006, Tom Segev, review of The Accidental Empire, p. 145.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of The Accidental Empire, p. 71.
Library Journal, November 15, 2000, Loren Rosson III, review of The End of Days, p. 74.
Middle East Journal, summer, 2001, Ronald R. Stockton, review of The End of Days, p. 511.
Middle East Quarterly, winter, 2002, review of The End of Days, p. 79.
New Leader, November, 2000, Lawrence K. Grossman, review of The End of Days, p. 34.
New York Times Book Review, April 21, 2002, Scott Veale, review of The End of Days, p. 28; May 7, 2006, Jonathan D. Tepperman, review of The Accidental Empire, p. 17.
Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1997, review of Seventy Facets: A Commentary on the Torah from the Pages of the "Jerusalem Report," p. 71; November 13, 2000, review of The End of Days, p. 100; January 16, 2006, Sarah F. Gold, review of The Accidental Empire, p. 46.
Tikkun, May-June, 2006, Cynthia Hoffman, review of The Accidental Empire, p. 73.
Washington Monthly, May, 2006, Rebecca Sinder-brand, "Unsettling: How Self-Delusion Led Israel and America to Disastrous Occupations of Arab Lands," review of The Accidental Empire, p. 46.
Booksense.com http://www.booksense.com/ (July 13, 2006), interview with author.