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Mother with a Gun: Life in the Jewish Defense League (ATOM study guide)

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    Enter the disturbing world of Jewish extremism. Once America’s most active terrorist organisation, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) aims to prevent another Holocaust by any means necessary. Here, the threat of genocide lingers and preventative violence is justified.

    Privileged access to the current leader, Shelley Rubin, exposes this unusual pathway to terrorism. Shelley, a 60-year-old mother from suburban Los Angeles, stands witness to the JDL from its inception. Through her eyes, we follow a life embroiled in FBI surveillance, assassination attempts and criminally insane JDL members. Set behind America’s turbulent political history from the late 1960s through to 9/11 and more recent terror attacks, Shelley’s experience in the JDL takes us into the private world of Jewish terrorism. In the end we are exposed to the personal cost of a life fuelled by fear and anger as we leave Shelley alone, traumatised and intent on finding the JDL’s next 'messiah'.

    Curriculum links

    Mother with a Gun can be linked to Year 10 studies of History and English. It can also be linked to Year 11–12 studies of English, Political Studies, Philosophy and Religious Education.

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