My Life as a Jew

Michael Gawenda

My Life as a Jew
Scribe Publications
3 October 2023

My Life as a Jew

Michael Gawenda

A multi-award-winning journalist and former editor-in-chief of a major Australian newspaper searingly explores his Jewish identity at a time when a substantial - and growing - part of the left is opposed to the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state.

Born in a displaced persons' camp two years after the end of the Holocaust, Michael Gawenda spent his childhood and teenage years in a left-wing non-Zionist Jewish youth group in Melbourne. This shaped the sort of Jew he became - a secular Jew who loved the Yiddish language and Yiddish culture.

Gawenda went on to become a public figure during his 40 years as a journalist, including his role as editor-in-chief of The Age - the only Jewish editor-in-chief in the newspaper's history. Throughout this time, and since, he became dismayed and pained by the growing hostility of the left to Israel and to Jews like him who were not prepared to declare themselves as anti-Zionists. This has also forced him to examine his own Jewish identity and his relationships with his Jewish friends, and to forensically examine the basis of the critiques of Israel.

At a time of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, My Life as a Jew is a controversial book. It is also a vital book. It should be read by activists for Israel and Zionism, as well as for the Palestinians. It should be read by readers of all political stripes. It should be read by journalists, as it is in part about journalism and its failings. And it should also be read by people interested in the remarkable life and career of its author, Michael Gawenda.

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