Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel
Nighthawk Press: Pub. date: May 1, 2017
Historical Memoir, 293 pp. $19.95 paperback
Available at bookstores, online retailers, or
Iris Keltz might be the only Jew, American or Israeli, to have found sanctuary with the Palestinians during a war that changed the face of the Middle East. The Israeli military victory in 1967 should have been a jubilant moment for her. Raised on the narrative of Jewish suffering in a Diaspora lasting thousands of years, culminating in the Nazi Holocaust, Keltz believed Jews deserved a homeland in Palestine––the Promised Land. Her story of self-discovery takes her from the streets of Paris where she dreamed of becoming a writer to the volatile Middle East.
“Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel” is a timely historical memoir. This June, people around the world will be commemorating the fiftieth year since the 1967 Six-Day War. While Jews celebrate the reunion of east and west Jerusalem, Palestinians endure ongoing occupation and loss.
After hitchhiking from Paris to Jerusalem, Jordan in the spring of 1967, Keltz had to wait three days for permission to cross a U.N. checkpoint into Jerusalem, Israel––enough time for her to meet a handsome young Palestinian poet, musician, and world traveler. After a whirlwind courtship of less than three weeks, they married and were planning their honeymoon when war broke out. The day Israeli soldiers barged into a basement apartment in Ramallah where the newlyweds had found sanctuary with other Palestinians, Iris was frozen with fear. She meant to cry out, “I’m Jewish, American, and these are my friends.” Her silence that day compelled her to write this book.
Keltz’s first book, Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie (Cinco Puntos Press, 2000), documents the counterculture in Northern New Mexico where she has lived since the early seventies. The book was named a Top Ten Read Of The Century by New Mexico Magazine. It was also honored with a Women Writing the West Award. May, 2017 issue of New Mexico Magazine has an article by Keltz on this subject.
As a freelance journalist, Keltz’s articles, op-eds, and essays have appeared in print and electronic media. She has spoken in universities, synagogues, churches, high schools, and civic centers, and has represented her district in a national Tikkun lobby. She is a founding member of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP-Abq) and Friends of Sabeel Abq. Retired from a forty-year teaching career that began in Harlem, New York and ended in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Keltz is now free to write, travel and visit her grandchildren on opposite coasts.
“As a Jew with a profound love for Islam and a lifelong dedication to human rights, I am overjoyed to encounter this masterfully written memoir. With the ease of a bard and the rigor of a historian, Iris Keltz tells a deeply personal love story tragically set in a world on the brink of war. I will refer to this book often for intellectual clarity and political inspiration.” ––Mirabai Starr, translator, Dark Night of the Soul, and author of Caravan of No Despair.
“Blessed with clarity of vision and language, as well as bottomless compassion, Iris Keltz introduces us to both her Palestinian and Jewish families; she let us wonder at the possibilities for a peace beyond war, religion, and ideology.” ––Mark Rudd, author, Underground: My Life in SDS and in the Weathermen.
May 17th @ 7PM
Peace & Justice Center, 202 Harvard SE
May 20 @ noon; Women’s Focus with Carol Boss
KUNM 89.9 FM Abq. 90.9 FM Taos
May 27 @2-3:30 PM
OP.CIT Books; 124A Bent St. Taos
June 4 @ 3PM; Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW, ABQ
August 16 @ 7PM; SOMOS 2017 Summer Writers Series, 108 Civic Plaza Drive, Taos, New Mexico
Note: Iris Keltz is available for interviews, events, and bookclubs. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org