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Sotah by N. Regan

 
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grin








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 3:42 pm       Post subject: Sotah by N. Regan
can someone clue me as to what this book is about? I got a strange remark from a dr. as to this book having given him new understanding of abuse of women (as in tzniyus patrols?) in frum society. Shocked
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Raisin








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 3:58 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
short synopsis: Litvish Family in meah shearim, oldest 3 are girls, Devora, Dina and chaye sara. Story opens devora is in shidduchim. because of some far fertched story about a great aunt who broke an engagement, and families poverty, she has a hard time, but eventually marries a nice (but ugly?) guy. Dina is beautiful and good. BIl ssets her up and she goes out with nice guy and falls madly in love, but his family won't let them get married becasue she has no dowry. She is devastated. Shadchen is called. shadchen suggests string of guys, not learniers, but working. in the end she marries a lovely carpenter, can't recall his name but he is a big bumbling sweetheart.

they get married, dina is happy, has baby, then mother dies. dina has frum neighbour who has hobby of seducing married women. due to her low emotional state after mothers death, somehow dina manages to let herself get into a relationship with neighbour, although they never go all the way - at the last minute dina runs away from hotel room, horrified at herself.

tznius patrol finds out, takes pics of dina on beach in bikini (this part I did not beleive would really happen) with guy,shows them to hubby.

(meanwhile there is a whole side plot of chaye sara, who finds herself a cute chaseedishe boyfriend and he also gets beaten up by tznius patrol)

tznius patrol tells dina she has to leave hubby, sends her to america to be maid to non frum family in ny. she is horrified at kids chutzpa, movies, etc.

In the end all ends happily, dina and hubby and kids living in tzfas, along with chaye sara and family, living nice wholesome Modern Orthodox life.
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StrongIma








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 4:03 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
oh, it sounds almost like a modern day Fiddler on the Roof.
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GetReal








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 4:42 pm       Post subject:
Raisin, good summary, but I would add that Dina wasn't fully happy with her husband to begin with, which is part fo why this happened. She always thought of him as second rate because he was working, as a big bumbling guy as you write. Meanwhile he was crazy over her, and knew that she thought of him that way...And then when they were forced to separate and later came back together, she realized the good in him and they lived happily ever after.
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Grandmama








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 4:49 pm       Post subject:
BY the way I looked into this, could not believe there is such a thing as tznius patrols, but was told that it is really true.
Maybe she exaggerated it a bit, but it is happening.
I loved her other book, her memoir about growing up in the 60's. She actually went to Sarah Shnirer sem I believe.
Very well written book about her life. Better than all the other orthodox bashing ones.
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shosh








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 4:50 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
Well all I can say is that I'm quite happy that I didn't have to go to the trouble of reading that one!!!!
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Grandmama








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 4:56 pm       Post subject:
Chains around the grass is a wonderful book written by Naomi Regan. She actually went to Sarah Shnirer sem at one point. She grew up in the rockaways, and this is an autobiographical memoir. Very enjoyable read for those of us growing up in the 50's and 60's.
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grace413








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 5:39 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
This and at least one of her other books are page-turners, interesting stories with sympathetic characters. However, the message "being Charedi is too much but become MO and everything will be peaches and cream" came across to me very strongly and distastefully - and I'm MO.
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Raisin








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 6:54 pm       Post subject: Re: re: Sotah by N. Regan
grace413 wrote:
This and at least one of her other books are page-turners, interesting stories with sympathetic characters. However, the message "being Charedi is too much but become MO and everything will be peaches and cream" came across to me very strongly and distastefully - and I'm MO.


I agree 100%. So I was surprised to see that the saturday wife is not bashing chareidim...but M.O. Although american M.O, not isrealis.

there are definately plenty of sympathetic chareidi characters in Sotah - Dina, her husband, her parents, etc. There is one evil guy, and the tznius patrol.

I personally found it all a little far fetched. Not that I don't beleive it is possible for a frum woman to behave like that, but Dina is made out to be quite the tzadekes at the beginning of the book - davening with huge kavanna and so on. And then she goes and does these really odd things.

The ghost of hannah mendes is a nice ragen book that is not bashing anyone.
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Raizle








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 6:58 pm       Post subject: Re: Sotah by N. Regan
grin wrote:
can someone clue me as to what this book is about? I got a strange remark from a dr. as to this book having given him new understanding of abuse of women (as in tzniyus patrols?) in frum society. Shocked
I read it many years ago and the other posters gave a good synopsis.

I think you should reply to the person who made the strange remark "I hope you didn't learn medicine from reading fiction novels too"

Rolling Eyes
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bubby








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 7:00 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
I'm sure I read the book, but I don't remember this plot at all. I'm going to try to find it in the library.
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SingALong








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 10:18 pm       Post subject:
I remember reading this. what struck me as really unfair was how the evil frum guy woman chaser who seduced Dina was only told to leave Meah Shearim, and not divorce, I dont even think his wife found out about the whole mess. so later he had the chutzpah of looking Dina up in Ny. that's when she realized the injustice of the tznius patrol and decided to return to DH.
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WriterMom








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 10:43 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
I am going to TRY to choose my words carefully, because I can easily offend people and get offended when discussing Naomi Ragen. This is partly because I know her a bit and find her in reality to be a lovely woman, full of ahavat yisrael, who writes fiction that sometimes skewers individuals and groups. This is the nature of fiction. I have huge admiration for her non-fiction, the opinion columns she writes defending Israel against anti-semitic critics.

I also read her books when I was totally secular, and to be honest, they were a (very minor) ingredient in making me open minded to frumkeit. I admit, I never thought while reading her books "I'd like to be charedi" (and I don't ever want to be even now that we're frum) but I did think "there is a lot of beauty in the charedi world."

And the things she writes about DO happen. They are by no means the most important part of the charedi world, or even a particularly big part. But they're a part. And fiction is, pretty much by definition, driven by conflict and tension. I don't know how many people here read mainstream fiction a lot, but both in novels and the news, you don't get exposed to happy, healthy, unconflicted and untroubled people. The vast majority of Catholics don't molest kids or commit adultery, but the ones who don't are less likely to inspire fiction or big news stories. Anyone else here read romance novels? Not all Italian are alpha male business tycoons who fall for swooning British virgins.

So, while she may well not be everyone's cup of tea, and I'd imagine that reading a novel about charedim is less interesting to people who live it, both because they can see the inaccuracies, and because, well, it's not a novelty for them, she's a better than average writer, and a good person.

And my sincere apologies if I offended anyone. Seriously.
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Raizle








Post Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009, 10:47 pm       Post subject: re: Sotah by N. Regan
I don't see anything offensive about what you wrote but I do see something offensive about someone writing fiction that slurs a group of people.
I also don't think highly of people like the person in grin's post that form their opinion of a group based on a fiction novel.
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Marion








Post Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2009, 12:40 am       Post subject:
Chaya Leah, not Chaya Sara. And 1st sister's husband wasn't ugly, he was overweight and the other girls couldn't figure out what she saw in him.

I didn't get the charedi vs. MO message at all. It strikes me as though Dina stayed charedi all the way through, she just lowered some of the fences that charedi society had built around her. There ARE frum artisans who are uncompromising in their halachic observance, and the fact that they have a parnassa from creating doesn't automatically render them MO. (I also didn't get a message that "liberal" Judaism is the be all and end all, but I did see the message that "you can be totally separate from Torah & mitzvot & still be an ethical person".)
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Raisin








Post Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2009, 6:49 am       Post subject:
Marion wrote:
Chaya Leah, not Chaya Sara. And 1st sister's husband wasn't ugly, he was overweight and the other girls couldn't figure out what she saw in him.

I didn't get the charedi vs. MO message at all. It strikes me as though Dina stayed charedi all the way through, she just lowered some of the fences that charedi society had built around her. There ARE frum artisans who are uncompromising in their halachic observance, and the fact that they have a parnassa from creating doesn't automatically render them MO. (I also didn't get a message that "liberal" Judaism is the be all and end all, but I did see the message that "you can be totally separate from Torah & mitzvot & still be an ethical person".)


my memories not that great, I guess. Wink

In another of her books the heroine (the sacrifice of tamar) also ends up living a D.L lifestyle. nothing wrong with that, but she does seem to be saying you can't live a torah true fulfilling life as a chareidi Jew.

I think there is a similar ending also in jephte's daughter.

Naomi Ragen is not a liberal Jew, as far as I understand she is M.O. I think she started off much more chareidi but then rejected that lifestyle.

Isn't a chareidi Jew who lowers the fences Chardal? Or shtark M.O, a la freidasima?
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Raisin








Post Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2009, 6:49 am       Post subject:
SingALong wrote:
I remember reading this. what struck me as really unfair was how the evil frum guy woman chaser who seduced Dina was only told to leave Meah Shearim, and not divorce, I dont even think his wife found out about the whole mess. so later he had the chutzpah of looking Dina up in Ny. that's when she realized the injustice of the tznius patrol and decided to return to DH.


You see, all this stuff is fiction. I have no idea if things like this really happen. Do you?
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Marion








Post Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2009, 7:56 am       Post subject:
I think Jephte's Daughter goes a little further than either Sotah or The Sacrifice of Tamar. Tamar comes from an American Yeshivish family, which is different from charedi. Tamar even complains, at one point, about how things that were permitted in her parents' generation are suddenly assur in her own. And Elisheva (? - Jephte's Daughter) is the only daughter of a chassidic dynasty and enters an arranged marriage into a Meah Shearim family after a single meeting...only to flee it and live, as far as I recall, as a gentile in England for a few years. (I don't remember for sure, but I think she tried to hard to fit in she was even eating "almost" treif.) The message I took away from all those books was that the charedi community is not immune, not that charedi life is bad.
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louche








Post Posted: Fri, Oct 23 2009, 9:00 am       Post subject:
GetReal wrote:
Raisin, good summary, but I would add that Dina wasn't fully happy with her husband to begin with, which is part fo why this happened. She always thought of him as second rate because he was working, as a big bumbling guy as you write. Meanwhile he was crazy over her, and knew that she thought of him that way...And then when they were forced to separate and later came back together, she realized the good in him and they lived happily ever after.


The only one who comes out completely smelling like a rose is the hubby, who despite being shown apparently incriminating photos of his wife, rejects the idea that she's unfaithful and believes in her 100%.

An important point Ragen makes in this book is that while the naive young woman suspected of infidelity is forced out of town and her life practically ruined, the evil man who deliberately plotted her downfall continues to live as a respected member of his community.
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