A home in the heartland

This book touched me, maybe because my daughter lives in Shiloh with her husband and eight children.

shiloh book 88 298 (photo credit: )
shiloh book 88 298
(photo credit: )
God, Israel and Shiloh: Returning to the Land By David Rubin Mazo Publishers 188 pages; $16.95 This book touched me in a special way, maybe because I have visited Shiloh often as my daughter lives there with her husband and eight children. Yes, this town in the country's biblical heartland is beautiful, but it's more than that. You are caught up from the first page, which is a dedication with photos to the memory of six Shiloh children killed in terror attacks. The book is also for all the others who didn't survive. Then comes the Introduction: "Blood was gushing out of my leg like an open fire hydrant in an inner-city neighborhood. The car had gone totally dead and we were rolling down the road. I turned the ignition and it didn't start, and they were still shooting!" Thus begins Rubin's true account of his and his three-year-old son's miraculous survival of a drive-by shooting on the Road of the Patriarchs. With the little one buckled into his car seat in back, they were halfway home when Rubin heard on the radio that an Israeli driver had been shot in a different part of Samaria. At that moment a hail of bullets struck his car. He believed that his son, who remained completely silent, was merely in shock. Miraculously the engine restarted on the fifth attempt, and he drove at 120 kilometers an hour to Ofra, the nearest settlement, where a paramedic discovered the toddler had been shot in the neck. Rubin was informed by the PR director of Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem that he had the dubious honor of being the 1,000th victim of terror to be hospitalized there in the past 18 months. However, the book does a lot more than detail his traumatic experience. Liberally sprinkled with biblical passages, it tells the story of a journey, physical and spiritual, of a secular American Jew (related with great candor) who becomes Orthodox, marries and raises a family in Shiloh, becomes its mayor and founds the Shiloh Israel Children's Fund after the attack on him. He is a powerful spokesman for the much-maligned "settlers," particularly on speaking tours in the US, where he addresses both Jewish and Christian audiences. The book has 10 chapters explaining the historical and spiritual significance of Shiloh and the miracles that have occurred to enable its modern resettlement. Beginning with Joshua 18:1 "The entire assembly of the Children of Israel gathered at Shiloh and erected the Tent of Meeting there," we learn how Joshua led the Israelites to the heart of Ephraim's inheritance, 32 km. north of Jerusalem, where the portable Tabernacle would be given stone walls and remain for nearly four centuries. Rubin takes us on a historical journey to help us understand the imperative to take possession of the Land. Israel's entire being is inextricably linked with the Land of Israel, as "its global, universal mission was intended to be carried out from there, as the Lord first proclaimed to the first Israelite, Abraham." Rubin wanted good to come out of evil, so he established the Shiloh Israel Children's Fund to support educational, recreational and therapeutic projects, noting that "there is not one child in Shiloh who does not have a parent or a sibling or a friend or a neighbor or a teacher who has been killed or wounded in a terror attack." This book is a powerful testimony to the importance of Shiloh - biblical, historical, geographical, political and spiritual. According to the author: "The reborn Shiloh of today is a center of dedication to the Land of Israel and its Torah, and has an important role to play as leader of the redemptive process for Israel, and ultimately for all mankind." A very thought-provoking, well-written and insightful study of a very special place.