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Jephte's Daughter

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Jephte's Daughter.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Naomi Ragen(Author)

    Book details


The pampered daughter of a wealthy Hasidic businessman, Batsheva Ha-Levi grows up in the affluent suburbs of Los Angeles. But everything changes when she turns eighteen and finds that her loving father has made a secret vow which will shatter her life, forcing her to marry a man she hardly knows and sending her to the exotic, golden city of Jerusalem. On her wedding day, she enters a strange and foreign world steeped in tradition and surrounded by myth. Shackled by ancient rules, she soon understands that to survive she will have no choice but to fight for her freedom, to reconcile her own need to live in the modern world with her ancestral obligations, and to choose between the three men who vie for her body, her soul, and her love.

Now a classic listed among the one hundred most important Jewish books of all time*, Jephte's Daughter is bestselling author Naomi Ragen's beloved first novel. With poignancy and insight, it takes readers on a groundbreaking and unforgettable journey inside the hidden world of women in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

*100 Essential Books For Jewish Readers, Rabbi Daniel B. Sync and Lindy Frenkel Kanter

""Jophte's Daughter is terrific!" Jacqueline Briskin, author of "The Naked Heart "Eloquent writing and vivid characters" "Publishing Weekly "Ragen weaves the religious issues throughout the plot so that they become part of the suspense, giving this skillfully rendered page-turner...real substance."An emotionally potent book." --"Kirkus""Eloquent writing and vivid characters." --"Publishers Weekly""Ragen weaves the religious issues throughout the plot so that they become part of the suspense, giving this skilfully rendered page-turner... real substance." --"Jewish Week""First rate." --Susan Isaacs, author of "Long Time No See" and "Past Perfect""Terrific!" --Jacqueline Briskin, author of "The Naked Heart"

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Book details

  • PDF | 443 pages
  • Naomi Ragen(Author)
  • Griffin; 1 Reprint edition (16 Feb. 2010)
  • English
  • 10
  • Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Sam on 4 May 2014

    Although Batsheva has been bought up as a Hasidic Jew, she has always been indulged by her wealthy father and allowed to taste more freedom than her school friends. She reads Western literature, pursues photography and dreams of living her own life before becoming married. But when Batsheva turns eighteen, her father arranges for her to marry a scholar in Jerusalem, and she is sent half way across the world, away from everything she knows. Isaac Harshen follows his religion strictly and wastes no time in destroying her books and 'training' her in the ways of being a Hasidic wife. Gradually Batsheva's freedoms are curtailed, her actions are punished, and her marriage becomes an abusive cage. When she tries to reach out to her family and others in Hasidic society, they remind her that marriage is forever and that husbands are to be obeyed. Batsheva has retained some of her spirit, but is it enough to enable her to challenge the society she has always known?Jephte's Daughter was published in 1989, and was apparently quite controversial in it's portrayal of women and domestic abuse in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. I have to admit that it was the religious aspect of the book that drew me to it; I am non-religious myself so am always fascinated by stories set in societies that are so different from my own. I can't imagine what it would be like to have religion at the centre of your life, to have so many rules to follow, and to be so withdrawn from other beliefs and lifestyles. Batsheva's religion in Jephte's Daughter forms part of her cage; divorce is seriously frowned upon, and being married to a respected scholar like Isaac is seen as the pinnacle of a woman's life anyway. It's hard for her to complain about the loss of intellectual freedom when she isn't expected to think. But although Ragen shows us this downside of such isolated, strict religious communities, she also shows the love Batsheva has for her religion, and the way she wrote about Jewish beliefs and communities was fascinating.Jephte's Daughter is really a book of two halves. The first half deals with Batsheva's marriage and the domestic abuse, and the second is about what comes after, and the issues she has to face as a consequence. I much preferred the first half of the novel; I felt it was a powerful portrayal of an abusive marriage, and strongly written. I was rooting for Batsheva and had an enormous amount of sympathy for her. Unfortunately the second half was a bit of a let down. Batsheva's journey to regain her confidence was delicately handled, but some plot events felt unrealistic, especially something convenient that happened at the end of the novel (mentioning no plot spoilers). Things fell into place a little too easily, and I felt like this distracted from the power of the first sections.Still, I've never read anything quite like Jephte's Daughter before. It reminded me in some ways of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; it had similar themes of a woman finding herself and not letting others define her. I would recommend it, and will look out for more books by Ragen in the future.

  • By John J. Moscrop on 11 August 2009

    In Naomi Regan I have found a woman who can take you to the world of the streets of the ultra orthodox heart of modern Jerusalem. She is brutally honest. She exposes the prejudice of that world and its treatment of women. Through her characters she explores the challenges that faced a young orthodox woman from America who married into that society. Bravely she opens up women's issues in the world of Orthodoxy both in the East and in the West. To her credit she remains a committed member of orthodox community and still lives in Jerusalem and still fights against the prejudice around her. This book should be given to every man as one of his wedding gifts.

  • By Marianne on 26 February 2014

    This arrived in practically pristine condition and cost very little. A bargain. I have only read one book by this author before but I loved it(the Sacrifice of Tamar) so my interest in her books was aroused. What I have read so far is good and I am certain I will enjoy it to the end. I was very impressed that it didn't arrive battered and well read.The spine of the book looked as though the book hadn't been opened! I will order more by this author.

  • By Newlindy on 3 August 2014

    Good read and may read it again.


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