June 13, 2013
From the Me-Ander blog:
I haven’t written any of my humorous “Baile Rochel” articles for a very long time. I had first written them for the Counterpoint newspaper, which had been edited by Rachel Katzman and my husband. That was decades ago. I was known as the “Erma Bombeck of Judea/Samaria.” I wrote about many topics, such as laundry, teaching, women’s Purim Parties, Passover cleaning and more.
But one topic I shied away from. Maybe it was just too close to heart and not something it had ever occurred to me to joke about. That’s the fact that I’m a “BT,” Ba’alat Teshuva, a Jew who has mastered “repentance,” someone who although not raised in a Torah observant home made my way on the rocky road to frumkeit, full Torah Observance aka Orthodox Judaism.
Even now, almost fifty years, half a century since I was first introduced to Torah observance by the OU’s NCSY National Conference of Synagogue Youth, and over forty-five years since I enthusiastically took on G-d’s commandments, I still feel insecure. Maybe I’m not doing it right. I never got up the guts to Read the rest of this entry »
May 28, 2013
by Hadassah Sabo Milner
I was recently sent this book to review, and although it took me a couple of weeks to get to it, once I picked it up I did not want to put it down.
I am a big reader – but I don’t usually go for Jewish-themed books, having found many of them in the past to be twee and self-serving, pushing religion down my throat. When I read, I want to lose myself in a story, I want to be carried along with the narrator, to be a bystander as events unfold. I don’t want lectures on how to be a better person.
Nicole Nathan’s book has made me re-evaluate the Jewish-theme book embargo. While Judaism and Pesach were central to the theme of her book, it wasn’t shove-down-your-throat religion.
Yes, there were a couple of scenes where I thought the “gam zu letovah” (everything happens for the good) angle was a tad overdone, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book.
The Berkovitz family, baalei teshuva, live in Middleton, Canada and one year decide that instead of making Pesach at home, they would rent an RV (Recreational Vehicle) and shlepp their family down south to a Florida trailer park for the holiday. They convince their close friends to join them, and their adventure begins. It’s more than just a road trip – it’s a spiritual journey, a quest to find meaning.
Pauline, Mrs Berkovitz, is the chronicler of this trip, and interspersed between relating events she discusses her faith and her journey to religious Judaism. She questions many things, and Read the rest of this entry »
May 26, 2013
From Trip’n Up:
I have to admit it, I have always wanted to take an RV vacation. Keeping kosher on vacations in the US is a challenge. The idea that you could bring the “hotel” with you and with a kitchen to boot, always sounded like a great adventure. Unfortunately, I never got the chance. It seems RVs are not as popular in Israel and anyway, you have access to kosher food throughout the country.
Time for another true confession – I hate Pesach cleaning. I know, I know, I am not the only one. There are women out there who relish the Spring cleaning aspect of it though. I’ve met them. I don’t understand them. I will do anything to avoid cleaning, especially Pesach cleaning.
Let My RV Go is a story about journeys. The Berkovitz and Shapiro family travel from frigid Canada to sunny Florida in their RVs. As Baalei Teshuva, they all have been on a spiritual journey and we learn about their pursuits to balance their lives and reconcile their present with their past. Pauline especially struggles to fit in to her new life. Their interactions with each other, and those they meet on their trip, remind us that life is a journey and we all have things to teach one another.
A Pesach without scrubbing the house from top to bottom and an RV adventure. This book had great potential from the start. Add to it a light, readable text, humorous anecdotes, and a moving journey, and you have the perfect novel for pre-Pesach craziness.
March 19, 2013
Just in time for the Pesach season, Mosaica Press released Let My RV Go!, by Nicole (Nathan) Bem. In their words, “Let My RV Go is an honest, humorous and refreshing account of one woman’s search for meaning—even if it requires turning her life upside down and tearing out the kitchen sink.”
Like the other Mosaica books, Let My RV Go, is a smooth read. The cover, title and story line comes together well. The layout and fonts are clear and pleasing to the eye.
I would say that the book is perfect for younger women who are either on their way Baalei Teshuva, already BT or are involved in the BT world.
I felt that the reference to movie characters and characters watching movies gave the book a non-yeshivish tone that BT or more MO person might davka enjoy and very much appreciate that comfort level.
LMRG has a glossary and also explains most of the “Jewish” words as they appear. That allows for a greater secular audience. It also references various parts of the Jewish American culture, ie the Bubby and her cooking, which is easy to relate to.
Personally, I enjoyed reading the book with its variety and light style.
LMRG is a novel that is an easy, upbeat read. I would definitely be interested in reading more from Nicole Bem, the author.
This review first appeared on the Jewish Joy Reading blog.