The Dao of Being Jewish: Tales of Jewish Diaspora, Persecution, the Holocaust and Rebirth in Europe, Africa and Asia

by | Jan 14, 2021 | Blog, jewish history

By Irene Shaland

“Shaland takes you by the hand and delivers a Jewish heart.” (HaLapid Magazine)

dao of being jewish

“This book is a collection of Jewish survival stories and fascinating tales. This is not a conventional travel guide: this book will shine a light on the history of 10 Jewish communities in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Together with the author, you will visit incredible places and meet the Jews of today.” (GTA Books)

Two and a half millennia ago, a small party of Jews explored new trading routes for King Solomon, settled in the south of India, and lived there peacefully until today. Similarly, during the ancient Roman period, many Jewish merchants traveled to China over the Silk Route and some made it their permanent home. Also, before the Edict of Expulsion in 1492, Sicily was home to over 50 Jewish communities, possibly numbering 50,000 people.

So, how did the Diaspora bring these wandering Jews to so many places around the globe? And why did Jews live happily in India and China for centuries and not experience antisemitism, while the story of the Jews in Europe went from persecutions and massacres to unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust? Finally, why do we see the rise of antisemitism and violence again in the 21st century?

You will find answers to these questions and much more in the current edition of Irene Shaland’s artfully illustrated book The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories. She collected these fascinating stories while visiting ten countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa and interviewing the locals in their homes, synagogues, and even cemeteries. Now, Irene Shaland’s book, replete with her husband’s photos, takes you on your own exciting journey of discovery from Austria and the Czech Republic to Scandinavia, from India and China to Sicily and Sardinia, and from East Africa to Stalinist Russia.