The Jewish Odyssey of George Eliot
If you like George Eliot's books you should read this short essay. It is one that any reader can understand and enjoy. Here are some of the highlights of her life, her strong personality and individualism against the prejudices of her day. She was an honest intellectual: a rare species at any given time in history. She cared for Judaism and Jews before the Holocaust or the Dreyfuss affair took place, when Jews were the usual suspects, the easy prey; she demanded a right for a national home for the Jews in Palestine when it was not yet an issue (a right that Muslims already enjoyed multiple times).
A courageous woman indeed. Daniel Deronda was her last novel, right after Middlemarch, her greatest book and one of the very best in the English language. I recommend that you read the book before you read this essay. There is also a section on how the critics of her time received the book (Daniel Deronda) -which for the most part was not positive, specifically due to the Jewish element in it, which section is probably the least interesting of this essay.
George Eliot was an intellectual giant, a size only matched by her honesty, straightforwardness independence and compassion. She was no blind follower of the crowd; a serf to nobody; a truly great writer with her heart in the right place.