Ella Fratantuono of University of North Carolina at Charlotte reviews From India to Israel: Identity, Immigration, and the Struggle for Religious Equality, by Joseph Hodes. Professor Hodes examines Israel’s first decades through the perspective of an Indian Jewish community, the Bene Israel, who would go on to play an important role in the creation of the state. He describes how a community of relatively high status and free from persecution under the British Raj left the recently independent India for fear of losing status, only to encounter bias and prejudice in their new country. In 1960, a decision made by the religious authorities to ban the Bene Israel from marrying other Jews on the grounds that they were not “pure Jews” set in motion a civil rights struggle between the Indian community and the religious authority with far-reaching implications. After a drawn-out struggle, and under pressure from both the government and the people, the Bene Israel were declared acceptable for marriage.
Read the book review at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imre.12335/full.