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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
Beautiful, fragile Dina Reich, a young woman in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox haredi enclave, stands accused of the community's most unforgivable sin: adultery. Raised with her sisters to be an obedient daughter and a dutiful wife, Dina secretly yearned for the knowledge, romance, and excitement that she knew her circumscribed life would never satisfy. When her first romance is tragically thwarted, she willingly enters into an arranged marriage with a loving but painfully quiet man. Dina's deeply repressed passions become impossible to ignore, finding a dangerous outlet in a sudden and intense obsession with a married man, with terrible consequences. Exiled to New York City, Dina meets Joan, a modern secular woman who challenges all she knows of the world and herself.
Set against the exotic backdrop of Jerusalem's glistening white stones and ancient rituals, Sotah is a contemporary story of the struggle to reconcile tradition with freedom, and faith with love.
An Unorthodox Match is a powerful and moving novel of faith, love, and acceptance, from author Naomi Ragen, the international bestselling author of The Devil in Jerusalem.
California girl Lola has her life all set up: business degree, handsome fiancé, fast track career, when suddenly, without warning, everything tragically implodes. After years fruitlessly searching for love, marriage, and children, she decides to take the radical step of seeking spirituality and meaning far outside the parameters of modern life in the insular, ultraorthodox enclave of Boro Park, Brooklyn. There, fate brings her to the dysfunctional home of newly-widowed Jacob, a devout Torah scholar, whose life is also in turmoil, and whose small children are aching for the kindness of a womanly touch.
While her mother direly predicts she is ruining her life, enslaving herself to a community that is a misogynistic religious cult, Lola’s heart tells her something far more complicated. But it is the shocking and unexpected messages of her new community itself which will finally force her into a deeper understanding of the real choices she now faces and which will ultimately decide her fate.
Powerful, page-turning and deeply moving, Naomi Ragen's The Sisters Weiss is an unforgettable examination of loyalty and betrayal; the differences that can tear a family apart and the invisible bonds that tie them together.
In 1950's Brooklyn, sisters Rose and Pearl Weiss grow up in a loving but strict ultra-Orthodox family, never dreaming of defying their parents or their community's unbending and intrusive demands. Then, a chance meeting with a young French immigrant turns Rose's world upside down, its once bearable strictures suddenly tightening like a noose around her neck. In rebellion, she begins to live a secret life – a life that shocks her parents when it is discovered. With nowhere else to turn, and an overwhelming desire to be reconciled with those she loves, Rose tries to bow to her parents' demands that she agree to an arranged marriage. But pushed to the edge, she commits an act so unforgivable, it will exile her forever from her innocent young sister, her family, and all she has ever known.
Forty years later, pious Pearl's sheltered young daughter Rivka suddenly discovers the ugly truth about her Aunt Rose, the outcast, who has moved on to become a renowned photographer. Inspired, but nave and reckless, Rivka sets off on a dangerous adventure that will stir up the ghosts of the past, and alter the future in unimaginable ways for all involved.
Bestselling author Naomi Ragen mixes poignant storytelling and irreverent wit with her talent for creating finely drawn characters in this tale of a young Rabbi's wife who slowly begins to unravel under the incessant and unreasonable demands of her congregation, her faith, and her life.
Beautiful, blonde, materialistic Delilah Levy steps into a life she could have never imagined when in a moment of panic she decides to marry a sincere Rabbinical student. But the reality of becoming a paragon of virtue for a demanding and hypocritical congregation at an Orthodox synagogue in the suburbs leads sexy Delilah into a vortex of shocking choices which spiral out of control into a catastrophe which is as sadly believable as it is wildly amusing.
Told with immense warmth, fascinating insight, and wicked humor, The Saturday Wife depicts the pitched and often losing battle of all of us as we struggle to hold on to our faith and our values amid the often delicious temptations of the modern world.
Living in Jerusalem, Elise Margulies fears for the lives of her husband and daughter every day. Then comes the day when her worst fears come true. Cancer specialist Dr. Jonathan Margulies drives his young daughter home from her ballet recital. His bullet-ridden car is found empty on the side of the road hours later. Elise, in the last stages of a difficult pregnancy, desperately calls her grandmother Leah in America for help and unknowingly revives a decades-old oath. Over five terror and hope-filled days during which ordinary people join the front lines against terrorism, the ties that bind two generations form a powerful alliance against contemporary evil.
An ambulance screams through the Jerusalem’s quiet streets. Inside, a toddler fights for his life, his parents nowhere to be found. With profound shock, an emergency room doctor realizes that the child’s mother—a young American—is already at the hospital, sitting at the bedside of yet another child with traumatic injuries. Devoutly reciting Pslams, she stubbornly refuses to answer any questions, cautioning her children to say nothing.
Brought in to investigate, Jerusalem detective Bina Tzedek-herself a young mother- carefully peels back layer after layer of secrets and lies, following a dark, winding path through Jerusalem’s Old City, kabbalists, mystical ancient texts, and terrifying cult rituals, until she comes face to face with the horrifying truth which has held a young American family captive.
Based on true events, The Devil in Jerusalem from internationally bestselling author Naomi Ragen is an eye-opening look at the dangerous predators lurking around the watering holes of those who come seeking spiritual enlightenment.
A bittersweet and moving tale of childhood and the loss of innocence, the best-selling author of Jepthe's Daughter, Sotah, and the Ghost of Hannah Mendes brings the added intensity of a searing personal memoir to this story of growing up, betrayal and the unending resilience of family love.
Tamar Finegold is twenty-one years old, the happy, beautiful bride of a rising young Rabbi in one of Brooklyn's insulated, ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. Having married the man of her dreams and taken her place as a wife—and hopefully soon-to-be mother—in her community, Tamar feels as though the world is at her feet. But her secure, predictable existence is brought to an abrupt end when she is raped by an intruder. Fearing the unbearable stigma and threat to her marriage that could result from telling the truth, Tamar makes a fateful decision that changes her life forever. Her feeling that she did the only thing she could under the circumstances explodes when years later a shocking, undreamed of turn of events finally forces her to confront her past, once and for all
When Catherine da Costa, a wealthy Manhattan matron, learns she has only a short time to live, she realizes that her family tree will die unless she passes on its legacy and traditions to her granddaughters. But Suzanne and Francesca, beautiful young women caught up in trendy causes and ambitious careers, have no interest in the past. Catherine almost despairs until one night she is visited by the ghost of her family's anscestor, an indomitable Renaissance businesswoman named Hannah Mandes.
The ghost of Hannah Mendes encourages Catherine to use every trick in the book to coerce the granddaughters to journey across Europe and acquaint themselves with their roots. While the sisters honor their grandmother's request out of loyalty, they believe their quest is futile--until it starts to uncover ancient pages from Hannah Mendes's fascinating memoir, and brings new loves into their lives.