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September 14, 2006 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-09-14

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

ertainrnent

"It beckons folks to have some
good, wholesome family food
at hard-to-beat prices"

VIADT A

N T 1E: BOOKSHELF

-Danny Raskin

AMILY Dtt4ING

potted peace (got

lila to On DIM

vo retrwi Choice

for Brunch in
The Novi News!

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MINIM

such as finding an appropriate
spouse, dealing with infertility, caring
for a parent with dementia, difficul-
ties earning a living and dealing with
communication challenges within
marriage. Each character, so vividly
and warmly portrayed from the third
person, struggles in at least one of
these areas.
Rashi's Imisy life as an esteemed
Torah scholar and founder of his own
yeshivah, winemaker, son, husband
Soriya Daniels
and father is vividly drawn, leaving
. Special to the Jewish News
the reader to feel as though he or she
is a part of Rashi's household.
n a mesmerizing tale of part
The author's seven years of histori-
fiction and part fact, first-time
author Maggie Anton takes read- cal research coupled with a decade
of Talmud study is well evidenced
ers of Rashi's Daughters: Book One
— she adeptly
— Joheved (Banot
details the use of
Press 2005, $15.95)
medicinal herbs
back to medieval
and how they are
1 I th-century France
gathered, not to men-
on a journey explor-
tion
well-researched
ing the personal
descriptions
of
lives, hopes, trials
rituals
practiced
by
and tribulations of
medieval
Jews
who
the great talmudic
were ever cognizant
sage Rashi and his
of demons and evil
immediate family.
forces. Incorporating
As the book title
elements of magi-
implies, Joheved is
cal thinking, Anton
the first novel in
describes
numerous
what Anton antici-
magic
potions
and
pates will become
protective
amulets
a trilogy to explore
from days of yore.
the personal and
Well-written
and
Rashi's Daughters has won
intellectual lives
peppered with
awards for best hittorical fic-
of Rashi's three
charming terminol-
daughters: Joheved, tion and best new voice in fic-
ogy of the day, the
Miriam and Rachel. tion.
book transports the
Lacking sons,
reader to a time when moss was used
Rashi made the fateful decision to
in lieu of toilet paper, people stayed
break tradition and teach his three
close to the hearth to keep warm and
daughters Talmud — a radical
stirabout (a type of porridge) was the
departure from the religious-cultural
staple food, while wine and ale were
norms of the time — despite objec-
the only beverages to choose from.
tions from his wife.
From the early pages of the book,
For years, learning Talmud became
which quickly absorb the reader
Joheved and Miriam's secret bedtime
into the drama of Rashi's household,
ritual. Rashi's private Talmud lessons
childbirth proves a very dangerous
to his eldest daughter Joheved are so
undertaking, even with an experi-
engrossing, that it's easy to immerse
enced midwife like Rashi's sister-
oneself in each lesson as though
in-law and his daughter, Miriam, as
being personally taught by Rashi
assistant.
• himself.
With the arrival on the scene of a
As intriguing as these lessons may
• mystic from the Middle East, Rashi's
be, it is but one facet of this thor-
Daughters even touches a bit upon
oughly enjoyable, memorable and
illuminating portrait of Rashi's family Kabbalah.
Anton skillfully interweaves tal-
and the dramatic lives they might
mudic discourse, particularly of
have lived.
sexual content, with events of her
It is also a story of love, marriage
imagination to create this romantic
and family and timeless struggles

900 years after
his death, talmudic
scholar resonates
in award-winning
novel.

I

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62 September 14 • 2006

Rashi Revealed

liN

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