“Night in Jerusalem” by Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy

Title:
NIGHT IN JERUSALEM
Author: Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy
Publisher: PKZ Inc.
Pages: 246
Genre: Historical Romance
A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty, historical insight, and sexual passion.
David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.

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David lay awake thinking about Anat. He was intimidated by her sexuality, but also fascinated by her free spirit and daunting intelligence.
He had never met anyone like her. He wondered if Jonathan and the others knew she preferred women lovers, and why she had confided in him. He became anxious, thinking perhaps she sensed he had sexual issues and was someone she could easily manipulate. 
Earlier, out on the roof, he had asked her why she preferred women. She had answered simply, “For the same reasons you do,” then adding, “I find women more interesting intellectually, as well as sexually.” 
Her directness was equal parts frightening and exciting. He wanted to know her better. Perhaps, with her, he could get over his sexual problem. The truth was, he desired her as much as he found her intimidating.

Review from Chill and read

David Bennett, a young British aristocrat arrives in Jerusalem to visit his cousin, Jonathan. The year is 1967. David is feeling isolated so Jonathan introduces him to the chief rabbi of the city, who he trusts and honors, to seek advice. Reb Eli, listens to his torment and brings him in touch with the experts and eventually Tamar, an enchanting prostitute that will help him overcome his problem. From that moment on, the two of them become one.

This is a love story set in the city of Jerusalem when the six days war strikes. The author was living in the city during those times, as a native 20 year old woman and has first hand experience from the war and the city itself. This gives her the opportunity to paint the picture of the city’s population in every detail. 

Jerusalem has gone through a lot. Many have tried to conquer her over the centuries. Some have succeeded, others not. All this fuss around the holy city has been depicted in this book in many different ways. Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy claims that the characters were based on real people, her friends and acquaintances at the time, which means that there are actually so many different kinds of people in that small portion of the earth. A representative population of this world, one would say.

Even so, the author manages to provide a love story, that is set in a challenging environment and succeeds in every way. The story will stay in the reader’s mind for time after the last page is turned!

Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and Israel. Night in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.
She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I im agined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.
I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.
I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.
Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.
Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”

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