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East and West

Ami Gedalia
AGE: 12-15

This is a moving depiction of first love, and more: a search for family roots through the decoding of mysterious clues, and encounters between East and West in the Jerusalem of today and the late 1800s. The story begins in Sweden, where Karina, who has just finished high school, accepts her grandmother's offer to send her on a trip to Jerusalem. Her great-great-grandfather lived there as a young man, and Karina's mission is to find out more about his stay there. The only trace she has is a letter that he received from Jerusalem at the turn of the century. Karina arrives in Jerusalem and meets Eitan, a student and a descendant of the woman who wrote the mysterious letter. Eitan knows nothing about the "Swedish connection," but in the attic he finds an old diary written in Swedish, which turns out to have been written by Lars Olafsson, Karina's great-great-grandfather. In touchingly direct language, the diary relates Lars's experiences living in a religious Christian community in Jerusalem, and his love for a Jewish Yemenite girl. The girl (a distant relative of Eitan's) died in childbirth, and Lars brought their daughter back to Sweden. Because of the Yemenite girl's unmarried love, she was rejected by her family – except for one sister, the author of the letter. Uncovering their families' connected history, and seeking to understand their ancestors, Eitan and Karina bridge wide gaps: between modernity and life in the late 19th century, a small Swedish town and Jerusalem, between a Christian and a Jew. They also fall in love, but have good reason to hope that their love story will not end in tragedy like Lars's. In the end Karina goes back to Sweden, but promises to return to Eitan.


Gedalia East and West
Title East and West
Author’s Last Name Gedalia
Author's First Name Ami
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1995
No. Pages 174 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Masa Be-Ikvot Ha-Ahava
Representation Represented by ITHL

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