JERUSALEM – Today, I am excited to announce the launch of the ALL ISRAEL NEWS Book Club.
The reason is simple.
As an author and journalist who lives and works in the Middle East, I’m constantly asked by people all over the world, “What are you reading?” and “What should I be reading if I want to better understand what’s going on over there?”
This book club provides the answers – links to books that I have personally read and loved, but only those that deal with the people, countries and controversies of Israel and the broader Middle East, including books about any of the three Abrahamic religions that were founded in this region: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Of course, just because I recommend a book doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with everything in it.
But it does mean that I believe it is absolutely worth your investment of time and money.
You’ll see that I have linked to several dozen books that I have loved in the past.
Yet to kick off this new project, I’m thrilled to choose Shannon Bream’s new book – The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today – as my first official recommendation, and a very enthusiastic recommendation at that.
Shannon is a Fox News anchor and Supreme Court correspondent. She’s also a devout Evangelical Christian who, with her husband, has endured some very painful and personal challenges and hardships over the years, something she opened up about in her first book, a memoir, several years ago.
Shannon’s new book about 16 of the Bible’s most fascinating women is hopeful, inspiring, encouraging and at times deeply moving – this is exactly what we need in these difficult times – I cannot recommend it highly enough!
It’s an absolute treasure, and one that I have already purchased for my wife, Lynn, my mom, Lynn’s mom and for other women in our family.
I encourage you to do the same. [To purchase a copy, please click here.]
Recently, I interviewed Shannon about why she wrote this book and why it is resonating with people. It has, after all, hit No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list for the past three weeks in a row.
Here are a few excerpts from our conversation – but I encourage you to watch the whole interview on our YouTube channel.
ROSENBERG: Congratulations, Shannon, first of all, this it's a wonderful book, but it's also so intriguing to me. I'll just be completely honest – to hit No. 1 at New York Times, which is one of the toughest gigs in the publishing world – and to do it with stories that are thousands of years old when you deal with everyday news – that's your stock in trade – that’s not easy. Why did you write this book? And why now? And why do you think it's resonating?
BREAM: You know, Fox actually came to me because they were starting their book label last year, and they said, ‘We want our second book to be something in this space for women and for religion, and would you want to take this on immediately?’ And I was immediately so excited by the prospect of getting to do this because, of course, these are stories I've read and studied my whole life. I learned so much in writing this book and going back and digging deeper into each of these stories. But we decided to pull out several women – and there's so many great ones; you can include them all – but these are some of the more prominent stories. And we actually have a mix. I sort of joke, but it's true, we've got a prostitute. We've got a murderer. We've got a queen. We got Mary, the mother of Jesus. I mean, there is a variety in here for you to choose from… But then in the end, there were so many other women and their interaction with Jesus that I wanted to include that we did sort of a catch-all chapter to show the relationship that Jesus had with women in his time as well…
You know, I think, partially, what's working with this book is that it was so unexpected. Like you said, it’s a bunch of Bible stories that are centuries old, so it's surprising that it would be connecting the way it is. I think that people have been through so much in the last year and these women suffered many of the same problems that we're having now. People have been very open, I think, and tender, because they've been in such a place of searching and of pain and of loss over the last year. So, I think a lot of these stories – which deal with sibling rivalries and families and chronic illnesses, financial loss, infertility, and widowhood – I mean, these are problems that are still here in 2021. So, I think they're very applicable today.
But there is this message of hope woven through all the stories that God was working in these stories [even though] these women are imperfect, as we all are. They're flawed. I think that's very comforting and relatable, so that we know that God can work through any of us. And when we make terrible mistakes, as some of the women in this book do, God still works through the messes. Some of the most colorful, questionable characters in the book are in the lineage of Christ. So, God is using these people.
I love Deborah because she's one of the lesser known stories in the Old Testament. I love that she was a revered judge, that she led Israel into battle. She had a beautiful worship song after the victory. So she's kind of everything – a worship leader, a military leader, a judge.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.