On a Jerusalem-basedgap year program before beginning college, Kayla Harris Cohen traveled the world, and she distills her adventures in lyrical and stirring vignettes, interviews, and essays in her debut book, The Full Severity of Our Connection.
We are with Cohen as she meets the Dalai Lama in India and the last remaining Jew of Essouira, Morocco; as she tours Athens with the Chief Rabbi of Greece and the memorial sites of post-Holocaust Berlin; and as she reflects on the legacies of the Inquisition with the first Spanish-born rabbi since the 1492 Expulsion.
After each of these adventures, Cohen returns to Jerusalem where she explores the fractured spiritual and political landscapes of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, traversing similar questions of self, belonging, memory, and otherness that animated her travels in the diaspora.
More than giving voiceto different Jewish diaspora communities and their histories, Cohen expands fundamental conceptions of Jewish identity by considering the long-standing implications of exchange between Jews, their different cultural surrounds, and the diffuse "other."
The Full Severity of Our Connection leaves with its readers stories that are as relevant as they are boundary-pushing, stories that require introspection as much as they do vision.