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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Historical
  • Language:English
  • Pages:255
  • eBook ISBN:9780992055363

Joseph in the Land of the Mizraim

by Aaron Zerah

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WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE FACED WITH YOUR OWN HOLOCAUST? Joseph in the Land of the Mizraim reveals the real-life and interwoven stories of Joseph, a precocious Jewish boy from Warsaw; Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat who disobeys his government to save Jewish refugees; Jerzy, a gay Polish comedian in love with a Nazi officer, and his funny and foul-mouthed parrot, Pu-fu; Noorunissa Khan, the heroic Indian princess-turned-spy working for the British in Paris; Marian, a lusty German farm girl whose father uses Jews as slave laborers; Michal, the philosophical Polish priest (based on Pope John Paul II) who is captured and taken with Joseph on a cattle-car bound for Auschwitz; and an all-too-human Adolf Hitler, whom the reader first meets attending an intimate dinner party at the home of his close friend and adoring young niece in the Black Forest.
Joseph in the Land of the Mizraim is a unique “Holocaust” novel that delivers to the reader an unexpected and ultimately transformational story. All the principal characters in the book are based on real people. Joseph, the main protagonist, is modeled on my father, and his story is at the heart of the novel. Like his namesake, the Biblical Joseph, he finds himself at a young age imprisoned in the land of the mizraim. In Hebrew, mizraim literally means Egypt, yet its root and spiritual meaning is a place of confinement and constriction - the birth canal. In Joseph in the Land of the Mizraim, each character faces his or her own mizraim, and is called to make soul-changing choices. Joseph in the Land of the Mizraim unfolds in the form of the Kabbalistic “Tree of Life”, ascending from Malchut/Realm to Keter/Ultimate, and Joseph takes this journey too, from his first surprising encounter with a friendly Nazi guard in the Warsaw Ghetto to his realization of spiritual freedom at Auschwitz after the war. Each chapter (branch of the tree) illuminates a quality of the divine (Beauty, Loving-kindness,...), and provides the reader a spiritual framework to make, as they move through the book, their own climb into greater understanding and wisdom. While Joseph’s adventures drive the story forward and compel the reader to want to know what will happen next, the novel also interweaves the convergent stories of many other extraordinary characters. There’s Elsa Brunner, whose beloved “Uncle Adi” is actually Adolf Hitler; Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese ambassador who must disobey his government to rescue Jews; Jerzy, a gay Polish comedian, his lover Paul, a young German officer, and Jerzy’s slightly crazy and foul-mouthed parrot, Pu-fu; Noorunissa Khan, the daughter of the founder of a Sufi spiritual order devoted to peace who becomes a spy for the French Resistance; Michal, the philosophical Polish seminarian captured and taken with Joseph on a cattle car bound for Auschwitz; Marian, a very precocious and lusty German farm girl who comes on to Joseph; Frau Schaden, a neighbor of Joseph’s who collaborates with the Gestapo; Joanna Kuehn, a Swiss nurse (modeled on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross) who makes a pilgrimage to Poland to aid refugees; and Sylvie, a Sinti (Gypsy) whose twin was murdered at Auschwitz and who sees visions of the future. In addition to my father’s, many of the core stories of Joseph have been given to me personally. I have had, for example, the great honor of speaking with Mrs. Sugihara and her son, both full of gentle memory. Additionally, I was received graciously in a special audience with Sufi master Hidayat Khan, Noorinissa’s brother. He blessed this work and even offered me his symphonic piece, composed in memory of his sister, to be included in a prospective film score. I have exchanged messages with the late Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and gained a greater understanding of her spiritual outlook and history in war-time Switzerland. By revealing these inner stories, Joseph in the Land of the Mizraim satisfies the reader’s desires for both entertainment and enlightenment.
About the author
From early childhood, Aaron has had faith that the world could come together in peace. His parents, both Holocaust survivors, showed (and continue to show) him the power of acceptance and love and the way to live in joy. An Interfaith Minister for nearly 25 years, Aaron is the founder of the Interfaith Seminary and a leading figure in the global Interfaith movement. He has spoken at the historic Parliament of the World’s Religions, the U.N. and a host of houses of worship. Aaron is also the published author of several books: 365 Spirit, How the Children Became Stars, A Time to Mourn and Every Day Is a Blessing. He has recently completed a 22-story series for children called Eliaz and the Magic Sword and published a children's book entitled Spirit Storybooks. Aaron currently lives in the lovely town of Sechelt, British Columbia (near Vancouver) with his sixteen-year-old daughter, Sari, who is the delight of his life.
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