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I Kings: Torn in Two

Over the past two decades, Rabbi Alex Israel has inspired thousands of students in the US, Israel and the UK to engage deeply with Biblical texts.

Over the past two decades, Rabbi Alex Israel has inspired thousands of students in the US, Israel and the UK to engage deeply with Biblical texts. He currently teaches at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi and is Director of Community Education at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. We had an opportunity to chat with him about his debut book, I Kings: Torn in Two published by Maggid Books, a division of Koren Publishers Jerusalem.

What is your new book about, I Kings: Torn in Two?

The Book of Kings can be impenetrable for some readers due to its complicated timeline and wealth of details. I Kings: Torn in Two seeks to serve as a companion volume, making Kings easily accessible, unpacking its messages and weaving the various threads of Kings into a meaningful tapestry.

How did you come to write your book?

I have taught Bible in Jerusalem for over 20 years. I wanted to share my classroom experience in a book. I love bringing the stories to life with a modern relevance, placing the biblical narrative in its historical and geographical context, the biblical figures as living, complex personalities. This helps us absorb the powerful spiritual lessons of the prophetic books.

Sometimes we study the text and then step outside the classroom to visit the sites at which the ancient events transpired: Shiloh, for example, in the footsteps of Samuel, or the City of David, imagining the historic events which transpired at that momentous place. At these moments, I see the light shine in my students’ eyes as they begin to synchronize with the contours of the text. I hope that some of that excitement comes through in this volume.

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