Book - 2007
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For Ronit Krushka, thirty-two and single, who lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side, Orthodox Judaism is a suffocating culture she fled long ago. When she learns that her estranged father, the pre-eminent rabbi of the London Orthodox Jewish community in which she was raised, has died, she leaves behind her Friday night takeout, her troublesome romance, and her boisterous circle of friends and returns home for the first time in years--Publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon and Schuster, [2007]
Edition: Touchstone ed.
Copyright Date: ©2006
ISBN: 9780743291576
Characteristics: 227 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 07, 2018

This story is an insightful reflection on how organized religion shapes the life of a community and the individuals within. We see how the words that guide the community, in this case the Torah, are interpreted to bind the group. We see how only certain members of the community are entitled to express their ideas and emotions. We see how members of the community are assigned specific roles and are prevented from stepping outside these boundaries. We see how there is safety for the group but a lack of autonomy for the individual. We also see the hierarchy at work in such a community, where too much power lies with the leader and very little with the women. Beautifully written, well structured, and carefully argued, this book is a delight to read. I can’t see how it could be made into a movie, because so much of the action takes place within the minds of the characters. Read the book for best effect.

Jul 18, 2018

Really enjoyed this book! It was beautifully written and gives more in-depth explanation of each main character than I guess what the movie portrays. I have not seen the movie yet, but now I can't wait!

May 01, 2018

I enjoyed the theology and being part of the world of Hendon for a bit very much. Not entirely sure I found the ending believable but also didn't feel like I really knew the characters all that well. (Maybe they didn't know themselves all that well either.) Now to watch the movie!

Mar 19, 2018

Excellent first novel, there are some differences between the book and the movie (surprise).
Read the book before you see the movie, if you can.

May 19, 2017

I found this an interesting reflection on God and his relationship with man. The only creature to be given choice, man has to struggle with obedience and the lure of disobedience. Ronit has lived in New York for many years, happy as a non-observant Jew, when she is notified that her estranged father, Rav Krushka, has passed away in his Orthodox Jewish community of Henden in London. Reluctantly, she returns to England to tie up his estate. Here she confronts her past and her relationship with her father and her ancestral faith, and the strictures she escaped when she went to America. This glimpse into the life of the rigorous Orthodox Jew reveals traditions that mainstream Jews have long given up. I liked and appreciated the construction of this novel. We have the thoughts of Ronit, then her childhood friend Esti, and then we are presented with Biblical verses and their interpretations. Those verses and the thoughts on them gave me a sense of what it must be like for students of the Torah as they debate the meanings of each word. Interesting stuff.


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