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On the Passing of Amos Oz

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association mourn the passing of Amos Oz, z’l, who has died of cancer at age 79. Oz was born in Jerusalem in 1939, and he spent many of his formative years at Kibbutz Hulda in central Israel, where he lived until 1986. The author of 40 books and countless articles and essays, Oz was, in the words of Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, “… a literary titan. Splendor of our creators. A humanities giant.” His writing has been translated into 45 languages, and the list of literary prizes he won is incredibly long. Oz was a combat veteran of the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Not long after his military service in 1967, Oz became one of the first Israeli writers to advocate for negotiations with the Palestinians and territorial compromise, which he did in an article called “Land of the Forefathers,” which included his oft-quoted observation, “Even unavoidable occupation is a corrupting occupation.” To his dying day, he continued to advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His 2002 memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, is one of the bestselling literary works in Israel’s history, holding a place on many “must read” lists for people wanting to understand the complexities and nuances of Israel and its history. May his family and friends be comforted in their grief, and may his memory be a blessing.

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