Jephte's Daughter [NOOK Book]

Overview

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 ...

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Jephte's Daughter

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Overview

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


The compelling story of a beautiful young woman in Jerusalem's ultra-religious Jewish enclave who is accused of committing the most unforgivable sin: adultery. Before she can even defend herself, she is banished from her husband and child and forced to leave the country. Sent to New York, she must find a way to reconcile faith with freedom.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ragen's second novel (after Jephte's Daughter ) revisits the insular world of ultrareligious Jews, focusing on the Reich family's three daughters and how they fare in the elemental rite of passage--marriage. In the Haredi community (made up of Jews who observe ``the tiniest dictate of law'' and have ``boundless contempt'' for all things secular), a matchmaker handles--and sometimes mishandles--nuptials based on dowry, piety and family ties, and only incidentally on love or compatibility. Harsh as these customs may seem, Ragen's detailed and thoughtful evocations of daily life in such an enclave offer insights into its members' beliefs. The drama centers on the Reichs' devout middle daughter, Dina, who tries to reconcile her desires and dreams within the confines of her narrow world. How she becomes a sotah (a woman suspected of adultery), her banishment from see ing her husband and young child, and the ultimate reconciliation of her strict faith with the meaningful aspects of a secular society form the heart of this very readable, but at times simplistic novel. Ragen is most successful when she tells the story from the vantage point of the haredi world, less so when her characters are secular Jews. A stronger work of fiction than Jephte's Daughter , the narrative holds the reader's attention throughout. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The world of Orthodox Judaism is lovingly portrayed in this first novel describing the conflicts of Batsheva Ha-Levi. Trapped in an arranged marriage to Isaac, a cruel, hypocritical zealot, Batsheva flees the Hasidic community of Jerusalem for the sophisticated world of London. Yet despite the myriad temptations in her new life, she refuses to compromise her faith, even for a new love. Ragen presents the cloistered Hasidic community in all its contradictory aspects: the rigidity of its piety; the serenity of its religiosity; the fanaticism of some adherents; and the wisdom of its great leaders. With its exotic ambience and attractive heroine, this is sure to be popular. Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan.
Ilene Cooper
"Sotah" is the Hebrew word for a wife accused of infidelity. In biblical times, a sotah was brought to the temple, where she was forced to drink a potion of water and dust. If the woman was guilty, her stomach would burst, but if she had not defiled herself, she would be set free. Young Dina Reich is a member of Jerusalem's ultraorthodox community, where tradition and observance take precedence over need and desire. Unlike her sister, Dina has barely strained at the restrictions her life imposes. But her mother's death and a failed match with a man she feels she could really love combine to unleash the restless yearnings that have swirled beneath the surface. Although her arranged marriage has brought Dina a kind husband and a child, frustration eventually leads her into a relationship with a married man. When the transgression is discovered by the Moral Patrol, a group of community vigilantes, Dina is forced to leave her home and family and work as a maid in New York. Suddenly faced with the freedom she has longed for, Dina realizes she must decide what kind of life she will have and what traditions she will follow. Ragen uses religion as an interesting backdrop for what is essentially a romance. Characterizations are rich and varied, giving insight into the lives of the ultraorthodox. Only Dina's transformation is not wholly believable, despite the care used to prepare for it. Still, it's hard to put this one down, and readers who liked Ragen's "Jephte's Daughter" (1988) will certainly liked "Sotah".
From the Publisher
"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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429957236
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 88,779
  • File size: 418 KB

Meet the Author



Naomi Ragen is the author of novels including The Tenth Song, The Sacrifice of Tamar, Sotah, The Covenant, and The Saturday Wife. Her books are international bestsellers, and her weekly email columns on life in the Middle East are read by thousands of subscribers worldwide. Ragen attended Brooklyn College and earned her master’s in English from Hebrew University. An American, she has lived in Jerusalem since 1971. She was recently voted one of the three most popular authors in Israel.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    absolutely fantastic naomi ragen work. i read the covenant before this book and was touched by her writing. this novel pulls on your heartstrings and exposes you to a secretive hasidic society. it is empowering for women of all religions and backgrounds. a must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2006

    Engaging story

    I was mesmerized with how the protagonist, in searching for and conquering true love, had to overcome the obstacles and challenges facing her--emotionally and especially spiritually. A deeply beautiful love story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2003

    underrated and underexposed!

    Naomi Ragen is one of the best writers I've come across in the past 5 years and I am baffled that her books aren't more successful. I'm not Jewish, have only a small understanding of Orthodox Jewish Culture, but was so engrossed in this story that I felt I was right in the middle of it. I've since read all her books and constantly recommend them to my customers. With every read, I feel an affirmation that there is good literature among all the trash. You just have to search for it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I am looking forward to reading Naomi Ragen's other books.

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  • Posted November 22, 2011

    Loved it!

    So glad I decided to read this. It drew me in and I loved her character. Could not put it down, highly recommended.

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  • Posted October 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Page Turner

    This is one of the most engaging books I have ever read. It was impossible to put it down and I can't wait to begin another of Naomi Ragen's books. I am about to begin The Sacrifice of Tamar. I can't get enough of her writing. I hope her editors continue to publish her novels as eBooks.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    NAOMI RAGEN DOES IT AGAIN

    If you have read any of Naomi Ragen's books and enjoyed them you will love this one too. If you have not read any of her books, definitely pick this one up or any of her others. Ragen explores, through her main characters all the issues we come in contact with constantly; self-doubt, religion, our relationships with others. I love her writting style and her descriptions. This book will remain in my library with all her others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2006

    Move over Romeo and Juliet!

    The love affair between two people from completely different worlds was deeply moving and inspiring to me. The power of love is beautifully revealed in this story, not only between the young lovers, but father and daughter, mother and daughter. Lovely.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    superbly engaging reading!

    this is the kind of book that is impossible to put down once one has started reading it. i read 246 of its pages in a single day, which sets a personal record for me. the author has such a healthy, balanced perspective on her own traditional jewish values and way of life, and her sense of justice, human decency and compassion runs through every line of her book. my only regret is not reading this sooner than i did.

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