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May 02, 2003 - Image 73

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1AONG H u4

FINE CHINESE DINING

rwitos/ Toil/ (7-5o
'A wonderful adventure in fine dining" — Danny Raskin

who moves to
the landscape.
Heavenly Heights from
The novel also por-
Baltimore with her
trays the neighbors,
husband, Mike, and
including the soulful
children.
Appalachian-born
Readers see this new
Debra and the stories
world from Tova's eyes,
of how she and the
following her bumpy
others arrived in Israel
adjustment to a world
and their intercon-
where arrogant appli-
nected lives.
ance "installators,"
Tova and Mike end
head lice and guns left
up on an extended stay
in the synagogue foyer
back in America when
weren't part of her
his father gets ill while
dream. She wonders
they are visiting. From
whether she was "sup-
there, they experience a
posed to absorb into
communal tragedy.
Risa Miller presents an Israeli
something or was it
Miller, too, lived in
Orthodox community with
supposed to absorb
Israel. With her hus-
empathy and without satire or band and five children,
into her."
ambivalence. "I don't know of she made aliyah in
Tova shifts from the
any fi-um literary fiction that
marriage wig she wore
1988, settling in
in Baltimore to a head- likes itself" she says.
Jerusalem. But in 1990,
scarf, from teaching
while back in Boston
English to Russian immigrants to
on what was meant to be a short vaca-
studying Hebrew in a similar class.
tion, her husband's back went out and
With sensitivity and some humor,
he had to be in bed for a year.
Miller captures the cycles of the week
"It was like Gilligan's Island, she
and the holidays, with meal prepara-
says, "when a 'three-hour tour' turned
tions, mikvah visits, small acts of devo- into an extended stay." And, they are
tion, weddings and special days like
still here.
Lag B'Omer, when Tova's family trav-
"We lost our aliyah," she says, recall-
els to Mount Meron for their child's
ing their resettling in the United States
first haircut. En route, they encounter
as a time of trauma. They still think
a tsitzit-wearing cowboy nudging his
about returning, but now they have
horse, "Mammela, boobela." God is
grandchildren and aging parents in
rarely mentioned, but the Divine pres-
this country.
ence is felt, in the kitchen and across
HEAVEN'S DOOR on page 74

until the Oslo Accords were buried
before looking for a publisher.
The book is both exciting and scary,
and those who really know what is
going on in Israel and have gotten to
know Israel from the inside will find
Total Jihad a very good read.

ADJUSTING SIGHTS by Haim
Sabato (The Toby Press,
$19.95 hardcover)

Haim Sabato is an
Egyptian-born Israeli who
served in the tank corps in
the Yom Kippur War and
currently heads a yeshiva.
When this book was pub-
lished in Hebrew, it was a
bestseller in Israel. Hillel
Halkin, well-known journal-
ist and translator, translated
Sabato's book into English.
The narrator of this "mem-
oir" is Haim, an Egyptian-born Israeli
who has been friends with Romanian-
born Dov since Haim's arrival in
Israel. The two young men went to

school together at a religious high
school and joined the army together.
The book is primarily one 19-year-
old man's long description of the Yom
Kippur War of 1973 in the Golan
Heights, his personal experiences as he
and his best friend, Dov, serve with a
tank battalion, and what happens to
impact Haim's life. Reading it, we
understand how being in
the army in a war situation
challenges the religious
lifestyle of these modern
Orthodox young men.
In an interview, the
author relates that he con-
siders his book "art" rather
than diary or journalism
because he feels "art express-
es precisely what another
form of expression can't give
voice to" — the "feelings
and thoughts of a common
soldier" who is religious and thus calls
upon Jewish sources.
Anyone who is familiar with the Yom
EXAMINING ISRAEL on page 74

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Isr

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STUDIOS

s-2,

2003

73

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