A young American takes on the Middle East

During his spirited romp through 13 countries, Adam Valen Levinson manages to celebrate Hanukka in Abu Dhabi.

By RIVKAH LAMBERT ADLER
January 11, 2018 18:28
3 minute read.
ABU DHABI: An unlikely setting for a bar mitzva, but it worked out for Adam Valen Levinson nonethele

ABU DHABI: An unlikely setting for a bar mitzva, but it worked out for Adam Valen Levinson nonetheless. (photo credit: REUTERS/AHMED JADALLAH)

 
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Instead of going to graduate school or getting a sensible job, when Adam Valen Levinson graduated from college, he went to the Middle East to try to redeem it for Americans who, after September 11, 2001, were taught to fear the region and everyone who populated it.

With a few semesters of Modern Standard Arabic and an intensive Arabic-only summer program under his belt, Levinson, a Jew by birth but not so much by inclination, wants to make sense of the culture in which the events of September 11 took root. “In my bones, I felt that I was the product of 9/11,” he explains.

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