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10 February 2007

Jephte's Daughter

In this book by Naomi Ragen, Batsheva Ha-Levi, the daughter of a weathly American Jew is forced into an arranged marriage by her father. He is the sole survivor of his family and feels he needs to honor his inheritance and cultural identity by insuring his lineage of famous rabbis continues. Batsheva is married to a devout Torah scholar in Israel. She is thrust into a world she knows very little about (and which looks nothing like the Rodeo Drive she is used to) and expected to fit in and take care of her new husband following a set of laws she is unfamiliar with.

This book is beautifully written. It shows one aspect of the Hassidic Jewish community in Israel. Naomi Ragen got a lot of criticism for this book as the man Batsheva marries is not the nicest man and how that reflects on the Orthodox. But of course this is one story of one fictitious member of the community. Naomi Ragen is a talented writer and does an amazing job of pulling you into the story. This is her first book.

Ragen, Naomi. (2002). Jephte's daughter. Michigan: Toby Press.

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