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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 08/2018
  • 9780692086155
  • 344 pages
  • $32.56
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2018
  • 9781543931556
  • 344 pages
  • $17.95
My Pashtun Rabbi: A Jew's Search for Truth, Meaning, and Hope in the Muslim World
David Eden, author
Sometimes a chance encounter can change your life forever. Rarely is it with someone so different and from such a dissimilar world. Even scarcer still is when it touches your heart and soul, and becomes weaved into your life's fabric. But that's what happened when an expat Pashtun taxi driver from North Waziristan picked up an expat American Jewish journalist the evening before his first class. Could it be insha'Allah, "God's will," that brought these two disparate souls together? Or was it beshert, "Destined to be?" And if that was the case, "Who" destined it? " My Pashtun Rabbi" chronicles David Eden's time as the "journalism expert" at UAE University during the 2008-2009 school year as the world's economy collapsed and war erupted in the Middle East. What's more, David's Jewish identity was unknown to his students, faculty, and nearly everybody. What would happen when they found out? How would the fact he was Jewish effect his relationships with his students and friends as the truth is revealed? That's the heart of "My Pashtun Rabbi" as David Eden takes you inside his classes, introduces his students, befriends a prominent Emirati family, and goes on adventures, including a camel ranch, the world's richest horse race, a labor camp and a journey into the heart of Yemen. He went to "see for himself" to better understand the relationship between Jews and Muslims and make up his own mind. And he did.
Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

MY PASHTUN RABBI

A Jew's Search for Truth, Meaning, and Hope in the Muslim World

by David Eden

A Jewish American working in the United Arab Emirates fears hostility but finds humanity in this debut memoir.

Fleeing divorce and midlife crisis, journalist Eden left Ohio in 2008 to take a teaching job at the United Arab Emirates University in the Emirati oasis town of Al Ain. There was much in the desert oil monarchy on the Persian Gulf for him to get used to: searing heat; arrogant but inept bureaucrats (who assigned his first class to meet in a women’s bathroom); and female students who were almost impossible to tell apart due to their similar names and their identical, all-covering black sheylas. There was also pervasive anti-Semitism in the Muslim country, he says, and a deep enmity toward Israel; his students, not realizing that he was Jewish, blithely penned anti-Semitic cartoons for his approval. But Eden’s driver, Noor, a devoutly Muslim Pashtun tribesman from Pakistan, proved surprisingly receptive when Eden revealed his secret religious identity to him; Noor became his “Pashtun Rabbi” when the two men engaged in long theological discussions. Noor’s explication of the concept of “insha’Allah”—Arabic for “God willing”—attuned the author to the virtues of trusting in Providence. Eden was also able to turn a confrontation with a bitter Palestinian student into an occasion for mutual respect, and he was made an honorary member of another student’s clan. Throughout, Eden keeps the book’s tone light, filling it with colorful travelogue and amused double-takes about culture clashes: “Mahasba lowered her head, flicked her long eyelashes, moved in, and gently set her lips, her hairy lips, on mine,” he writes of a Bedouin ritual that involves kissing a camel. At the same time, he undertakes a poignant exploration of identity and belonging as he and Noor bond over their shared experience of exile and outsiderhood. As he tells of being plunged into an unfamiliar and daunting society, Eden manages to uncover and celebrate ordinary kindness and common feeling in the most unlikely places.

An entertaining fish-out-of-water (and gasping-in-the-desert) saga, with an inspiring message of inclusion and understanding.

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 08/2018
  • 9780692086155
  • 344 pages
  • $32.56
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2018
  • 9781543931556
  • 344 pages
  • $17.95

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