Ranging from the critical and adversarial to the credulous and celebratory, this collection of articles calculates a running tab of persisten Israeli preoccupations, chiefly, coming to terms with Palestinians, and the conditions facing women in the Jewish state. The essays are not so much "confessional" as they are intelligently and sensitively written in Chertok's own personal voice. Indeed most of his preoccupations are poignant observations are born of the daily quirks, vexations, and beguilements of many years spent awakening and lyind down inside a very particular town in the Negev. In the concluding section of his work, Chertok self-admittedly risks "the saline fate of the Lot's spouse" by concluding with several backward glances at the American Jewish community.
In different form, portions of Israeli Preoccupations have appeared in a variety of journals, including Challenge, Congress Monthly, Hadassah, The Jerusalem Post, Jewish Frontier, The Jewish Review, Midstream, The Nation, The New York Times, and Tikkun.
Haim Chertok was born in the Bronx and taught at several American Universities before emigrating to Israel in 1976, where he currently teaches at Ben-Gurion University. In 1986 he was a recipient of Joseph M. Katz Award for Distinguished Jewish Feature Writing; in 1987, of the Smolar Award for Excellence in North American Jewish Journalism for his column, a regular feature of The Jerusalem Post. Chertok's first book, Stealing Home: Israel Bound and Rebound (Fordham University Press) was awarded 1989's National Jewish Book Award.