Buried, Blistered, Broken, Blackened: these words evoke the fragile state of Israel’s religious divide.  Now three ambitious ladies, living in Israel, are working to address these concerns as they create bridges of understanding across the religious spectrum. Three Ladies, Three Lattes:  Percolating Discussions in the Holy Land by Dr. Pamela Peled, Tzippi Sha-ked, and Danit Shemesh does not mince words.

This important book, recently published by Renana Publishers, tackles contentious issues head-on, discussing separation of state and religion, modesty (and its place in Israeli society), the army, Jewish belief, feelings about Israel, work, and even hair covering.

For two years these three women, originally hailing from South Africa, the United States and Scotland, met frequently to discuss percolating topics that affect Jewish women.  Pamela is secular; Tzippi, modern orthodox; Danit belongs to the Hareidi world.  The question they hoped to answer was quite complex: Despite heralding from such disparate backgrounds, could they connect over coffee and conversation and make sense of their differences? What creates such turmoil in relations between sisters in the Holy Land?  Where is Israeli society heading? Can anything be done?

Three Ladies, Three Lattes opens with a quote from Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac: “Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.” Clearly this fascinating book attempts to do both.  Without shying away from difference these women sat down and tried to make sense of their relationships, with no interference from men or politics. Over strong lattes they gave an honest account of their perceptions of one another, their hope for a future in their own Jewish Homeland, and their dream of achdus.

If ever there was a genuine, heart-felt cheshbon nefesh regarding the state of Jewry in Israel, this is it. The ladies acknowledge that Jews and Judaism are complicated subjects that need addressing in an Israeli democracy.  As they deliberate what civic responsibility one community has towards other members of society, some readers will find their blood pressure rising; others will be comforted knowing that these very real concerns in Israel are finally being addressed. Have a strong, caffeinated cup of Latte in hand as you read!

Three Ladies, Three Lattes is written in a vivid and engaging style, and by the end of it readers will have made new friends, explored ideas through fresh eyes, and formed their own opinions as to what needs to be done. You will laugh out loud, groan and even weep through this journey of unabashed candor as the ladies search for achdus.

Pam, Tzippi and Danit stress their desire that their book will be a launching pad for intense and honest discussions regarding the state of Israel’s union. Currently they are taking their project to parlor meetings across the country and creating a registry of Hareidi, secular and Modern Orthodox women similarly eager to work on achdus. Before the Yamim Hanoraim, we can’t think of a more worthwhile endeavor. Three Ladies, Three Lattes: Percolating Discussions in the Holy Land is available via Renanapublishers.com, Amazon, Amazon Kindle, and nearby Jewish bookstores.


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