A decade in the making, Emily Raboteau s Searching for Zion takes readers around the world on an unexpected adventure of faith Both one woman s quest for a place to call home and an investigation into a people s search for the Promised Land, this landmark work of creative nonfiction is a trenchant inquiry into contemporary and historical ethnic displacement.At the age oA decade in the making, Emily Raboteau s Searching for Zion takes readers around the world on an unexpected adventure of faith Both one woman s quest for a place to call home and an investigation into a people s search for the Promised Land, this landmark work of creative nonfiction is a trenchant inquiry into contemporary and historical ethnic displacement.At the age of twenty three, award winning writer Emily Raboteau traveled to Israel to visit her childhood best friend While her friend appeared to have found a place to belong, Raboteau could not yet say the same for herself As a biracial woman from a country still divided along racial lines, she d never felt at home in America But as a reggae fan and the daughter of a historian of African American religion, Raboteau knew of Zion as a place black people yearned to be She d heard about it on Bob Marley s Exodus and in the speeches of Martin Luther King She understood it as a metaphor for freedom, a spiritual realm rather than a geographical one Now in Israel, the Jewish Zion, she was surprised to discover black Jews More surprising was the story of how they got there Inspired by their exodus, Raboteau sought out other black communities that left home in search of a Promised Land Her question for them is same she asks herself have you found the home you re looking for On her ten year journey back in time and around the globe, through the Bush years and into the age of Obama, Raboteau wanders to Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana, and the American South to explore the complex and contradictory perspectives of Black Zionists She talks to Rastafarians and African Hebrew Israelites, Evangelicals and Ethiopian Jews, and Katrina transplants from her own family people that have risked everything in search of territory that is hard to define and harder to inhabit Uniting memoir with historical and cultural investigation, Raboteau overturns our ideas of place and patriotism, displacement and dispossession, citizenship and country in a disarmingly honest and refreshingly brave take on the pull of the story of Exodus.
Searching for Zion The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora A decade in the making Emily Raboteau s Searching for Zion takes readers around the world on an unexpected adventure of faith Both one woman s quest for a place to call home and an investigation into
Searching for Zion by Emily Raboteau is a soul bearing contemplative journey seeking an answer to the question So, where is my home Growing up in the privileged environment of Princeton, New Jersey where her father was a professor specializing in antebellum African American Christianity, Emily was aware she was different Finding kinship with another girl, Tamar, who was also different as her father was a professor in medieval Jewish history, the girls learned and bonded around their connected hi [...]
Excellent Modern Black Religious HistoryEmily, whose mother was white and her father black, and her best childhood friend, white Tamar Cohen, lived in their own little worlds, Emily being raised as a Catholic and Tamar as a Jew Emily s father was Henry W Putnam, Professor of Religious History at Princeton teaching antebellum African American Christianity and Tamar s father was a Professor of Religious History teaching medieval Jewish History Both girls remained apart from others, enjoying each o [...]
Envoys will come out of Egypt Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God Psalm 68 31 NASB I inhaled, knowing he was right as soon as he said it At its root, my quest wasn t about identity It was about faith Page 76 Emily Raboteau s newest work, Searching for Zion The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora, is truly a book about the quest for home It is a raw, angry, hopeful, and frustrated journey that takes the author on a journey to parts of Israel and Jamaica that tourists do not visi [...]
Emily Raboteau takes us on a journey that we all need to take if we care about tolerance, diversity, the world, humankind She illuminates a subject that is present in so many minds where is home for the displaced Zion captures the imagination of multitudes from the Jews, to Christians, to blacks, to native peoples of every continent It is the place of belonging, where we can feel at home in our skin, our beliefs, our speech, our rhythms Zion to me is nature my mind was captured by Utah s Zion Na [...]
This book was really interesting I didn t really like or dislike it, but it tackled some topics that were new to me in a manner that was also quite fascinating to read I appreciated the opportunity to have my eyes opened to new ways of thinking.
I took a lot of notes while reading this book, which is always a good sign to me Raboteau includes a ton of interesting research about the Black Israelites, Rastas, Haile Selassie, Ethiopia, etc The book itself is a solid read Like most memoirs, it slows down in some places that make the reader want to flip ahead, but overall, it has a good pace and Raboteau is an engaging storyteller.
This fascinating and powerful memoir took me to places I didn t know I wanted to go and considered questions I didn t know I had When author Emily Raboteau visits her lifelong best friend at her new home in Israel it sets Raboteau off on a ten year quest to find a homeland of her own With a black father and white mother giving her an appearance that made it difficult for people to classify her, Raboteau often had the sense that she didn t fit in anywhere She became intrigued with the idea of a b [...]
This book is a combination of a travel journal and a memoir For the most part, I think it works well, because she uses conversations to tell her story Where I think it falls short, is when she is expressing her displeasure for some place or thing I know she was attempting to be humorous, but it often comes across as mean She says of a Rasta pioneer gathering in Ethiopia, at that moment they looked to me liked an ancient order of Smurfs There are other passages like this, and I find them superflu [...]
This book was excellent and inspirational It provided a much needed investigation into ideas of identity, belonging, and ultimately salvation This book is a must read.
I appreciated Searching for Zion for its subject The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora, as the subtitle reads and for its breadth in covering that subject Raboteau, the U.S daughter of black professor and a white mother, travels to Israel, Jamaica, Ethiopia, and Ghana to talk with members of the African diaspora who have physically relocated in an attempt to return to their spiritual and or ethnic homeland Raboteau also visits southern U.S cities that were important in the Civil Rights Move [...]
Full Disclosure I received this book as an ARC from the Vine program in exchange for a review, and this review also can be found on Searching for Zion was first excerpted in The Believer, which published the chapter titled Points to Ponder when Considering Repatriating Home , which stirred my interest in Raboteau s larger work Ten years in the making, Searching for Zion could be catagorized as a personal memoir, a family memoir, a travel memoir, a work of history and a study in comparative relig [...]
It s a perilous thing to write a review so soon after finishing a book, but I shall try First Why does the book exist The writer begins with a humiliating search by security at Israel s airport by personnel who are confused by her heritage She is light skinned, considers herself black and has what they fear is an Arab middle name She s in search of Zion.After this intro, we are introduced to her upbringing She is the child of an African american professor and a white mother who is unfortunately [...]
A Memorable Searching for the Promised Land, ZionIn a literary style reminiscent of Paul Theroux than Frank McCourt, Emily Raboteau takes readers in Searching for Zion The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora on a decade long journey she undertook in searching for the Promised Land, Zion, after a brief visit to the Jewish Zion, Israel, compels her to begin her quest for a Zion, a home that is the desired goal of various black communities she encounters in the United States, Jamaica, Ghana, Et [...]
As I ve probably mentioned before, I used to manage a couple of Black bookstores back in the day And besides being able to do my favorite thing, talk about books all day long, I also learned so much about Black history, African history, and the many cultures within the African diaspora I came to meet Rastafarians, Hebrew Israelites, Muslims and felt my world become bigger because of it Raboteau, the biracial daughter of a Princeton professor of religion, grew up hearing about the concept of Zion [...]
At age 23 Emily Roboteau flew to Israel to visit a friend and found herself interrogated by Israeli agents at the airport and strip searched apparently because they believed she was Arab Emily s parents are African American and White and apparently her middle name is Arabic which she never knew The name came from her father s side of the family After that experience and meeting a group of Ethiopian Jews, she started thinking of people who are searching for a Zion or a promised land Where do many [...]
In Searching for Zion, Emily Raboteau, a bi racial American writer, spends a decade, from the age of 23, on an odyssey in pursuit of the promised land, an odyssey which takes her to Ghana, Israel, Ethiopia and the American South and which brings her alongside many different pilgrims on the same journey, from the African Hebrew Israelites to the Rastafarians In the end, she finds that a sense of home is much elusive than she d initially imagined, not just for her bur for the pilgrims she meets a [...]
Reading this book hit the mark on so many levels It provides deep insight into the life of others , as well as whites and blacks Emily has clearly chosen a side in the race game, one she didn t have to, many others would have taken a different approach, to pass for anyone other than those who have been relegated to the bottom rung in so many societies I see her search for identity as much about a search for her father who was lost to her during much of her childhood, as it is about belonging Her [...]
Searching Rarely have I read a book where I took notes I rarely did that through college and grad school Which may explain my grades Seriously, this book was just that full of information, much of which was new to me and I wanted to verify from other sources Raboteau is very informed, whether that is from her life in general, or from culling information from other sources, she is a font of information She brings this all together and enriches this travelogue of a memoir to make it a woman s, no, [...]
An award winner and beautifully written Emily s personal account of her searching for home and the comfort of belonging She has a white, Irish American mother and a black African American father It is history in its most interesting form, a personal accounting as it has affected her and displaced families around the world It is current events with music and people struggling with the need to belong The reader travels with Emily to Africa and discovers history with her and from her point of view [...]
Searching for Zion is a stirring combination of memoir, travelogue and cultural history The writing is lyrical, always candid and so very, very smart I was immediately swept up by the narrative and came away feeling genuinely enriched, as though I had personally enjoyed many of Ms Raboteau s varied cultural adventures The descriptions of her far flung international destinations are gorgeous and the questions thought provoking Though Ms Raboteau s search is unique, the questions she asks are univ [...]
Raboteau s quest to define her concept of home as a biracial woman is powerful, beautifully written, and alive with detail Her descriptions of life in Israel, Jamaica, and the American South are by turns funny and painful, but always vivid And she deftly manages two challenges that most memoirists have real trouble with she is honest and open, even when showing herself in an unflattering light, and she moves beyond her own story to bring us into the lives of the people she meets along the way, g [...]
This book was surprisingly disappointing The story of the African American search for Zion seems to be an interesting one, but the book is heavy on anecdotes that are hard to fit together It is often challenging to understand the motivations of both the protagonist and author and those she interacts with More historical context would be useful, as would a tighter structure and a clearer sense of what the objective of the journey chronicled in this book is.
Contemplative and addressing a universal question of finding home , Raboteau s latest is an awe inspiring piece of work that deserves the attention it is receiving Check it it s one of the year s must reads in several Books of the Year lists as well Such as this one
Good read There were so much times when I just laughed and laughed, some things she said really hit home P Although my parents are both from Ghana and came to Canada on their own, I definately feel the confusion and struggle that Mrs Raboteau felt as one living in the African Diaspora searching for home and Zion Well done Mrs Raboteau
It s such a ridiculous clich , Emily Raboteau complains to a friend at one point The tragic mulatto whining about not belonging I don t want to be that person That s not who I am That said, this is ultimately the identity she assumes for the purposes of the bookedailybeast articles
Recommendation Enjoyed Emily Raboteau s short story, Kavita Through Glass in The Best American Short Stories 2003.
Interesting book, but drags on Starts out exploring black Jewish community in Israel then explores Rastafarians, and moves on in various directions from there.
Wonderful combination of travelogue, social history and memoir.
This is a great read I enjoyed this journey
Everyone in America should read this book Of course, there will be those who dislike it But they should still read it, to make them think.