July 4, 2023
9 b&w photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.28 Pounds (US)
$80.00 USD, £62.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
July 4, 2023
9 b&w photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.91 Pounds (US)
$40.00 USD, £31.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Ruth Blau

A Life of Paradox and Purpose

Ruth Blau: A Life of Paradox and Purpose explores the life of a curious, if not mysterious, character in modern Jewish history. Born a French Catholic, Ruth Blau (Ben-David) (1920–2000) lived a constantly twisting life. During World War II, Blau was active in the French Resistance, and under their command, she joined the Gestapo as a double agent. After the war, she studied philosophy as a PhD candidate at the Sorbonne during the 1950s.

After converting to Judaism and moving to Israel in 1960, Blau was involved in concealing Yossele Schumacher, a seven-year-old child, as part of a militant conflict between ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews in Israel. In 1965, despite a huge scandal, she married Amram Blau, head of the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta. After the death of her husband in 1973, Blau took upon herself to travel to Arab countries to help the Jewish communities in distress in Lebanon and Iran, where she met Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and his deputy Abu Jihad. But the most significant connections she made were in Iran. In 1979, she met with the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Ruth Blau: A Life of Paradox and Purpose represents the first full-length biography of this remarkable woman. Drawing on a trove of archival materials and interviews with those who knew Ruth, Motti Inbari offers a complex, multifaceted portrait of a woman undertaking a remarkable and influential journey through modern European and Middle Eastern history.

About the Author

Motti Inbari is Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Inbari is author/editor of nine books, including The Making of Modern Jewish Identity: Ideological Change and Religious Conversion and Jewish Radical Ultra-Orthodoxy Confronts Modernity, Zionism and Women's Equality. His manuscript on Ruth Blau won several pre-publication awards.


"The untold full story of the most paradoxical woman who fought the Israeli Mossad and her marriage to the extreme antizionist Rabbi of Jerusalem. History at its best."—Margalit Shilo, Bar Ilan University

"Ruth Blau: A Life of Paradox and Purpose constitutes a landmark study of a heretofore mysterious yet highly significant personage in modern Jewish history. A French convert who married the resolutely anti-Zionist Neturei Karta leader Rabbi Amram Blau, this study of her life provides great insight into our understanding of Jewish ultra-Orthodoxy and the role of women within it. Inbari draws on rich archival resources and extensive interviews to construct this story of her life and its many twists and turns both in Israel and the Diaspora. In so doing, he makes an original and vital contribution to modern feminist and Israeli scholarship."—David Ellenson, Brandeis University


9780253065957 : ruth-blau-inbari
July 4, 2023
$80.00 USD
9780253065964 : ruth-blau-inbari
Paperback / softback
July 4, 2023
$40.00 USD

Other Titles by Motti Inbari

Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism

edited by Michael L. Morgan, Steven Weitzman, with contributions by Elisheva Carlebach, Emily Kopley, Cosana Eram, Matt Goldish, Shai Held, Motti Inbari, Martin Kavka, Shaul Magid, Benjamin Pollock, Annette Reed, Kenneth Seeskin
Nov 2014 - Indiana University Press
$110.00 USD - Hardback
$45.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from Perspectives on Israel Studies

Independence and Politics

Meir Chazan
Apr 2024 - Indiana University Press
$70.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Jacqueline Kahanoff

David Ohana
Nov 2023 - Indiana University Press
$85.00 USD - Hardback
$42.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Walking the Land

Shay Rabineau
Jan 2023 - Indiana University Press
$80.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Historical

Collecting Shakespeare

Stephen H. Grant
Oct 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$35.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Electronic book text
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Etienne Gilson

Florian Michel, translated by James G. Colbert
Aug 2023 - The Catholic University of America Press
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Before the Gilded Age

Mark L. Goldstein
Aug 2023 - Georgetown University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback