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September 14, 2006 - Image 63

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

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

drama. The explicit sexual descrip-
tions worthy of an R-rated movie
coupled with the book's graphic, lush
imagery might raise some eyebrows
in the Orthodox Jewish community,
although Anton carefully adheres to
traditional Jewish values in portray-
ing the sexual lives of the characters.
With feminist overtones, Rashi's
Daughters will likely resonate more
with female readers, especially since
Book One features a strong female
protagonist, Joheved.
Overall, this is a terrific novel.
Rashi becomes accessible to the

modern-day reader, even one with
no background in biblical studies.
Don't be surprised if you find your-
self drawn to studying Talmud after
reading this engaging book. At the
very least, you will never think of
Rashi the same way again. ❑

Jawb...14

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Move over, Harry Potter, for a new
I heroine in children's literature.

- who had three daughters and no
sons - she follows in his footsteps,
questioning and interpreting the
hildren's publishing
world around her.
can often be a volatile
And what a world it is. Living
market. In the absence
in Troyes, France, in the 1090s,
of such phenomena as the Harry
Elvina shudders along with the
Potter books, publishers often find
rest of her community as Peter
themselves in a difficult position.
the Hermit's crusaders slither
With only three out of 10 eighth-
from town to town en route to
graders, for exam-
Jerusalem, everywhere
pie, reading at or
battering and burning
above grade level
all evidence of Jewish
according to the
life.
2004 National
But Elvina has more
Assessment
than her hereditary
of Educational
wisdom to keep her
Progress, putting
safe; she also has her
out titles that will
Mazal, her guardian
be both substan-
angel. While parts of
tive and appealing
the book are written
an
is no mean feat.
in the third person,
All of which
narrating the events
makes My
of the novel as they
Guardian Angel
unfurl, others are con-
The captivating story of
(Scholastic;
veyed in Elvina's own
a young girl who lived 10
$16.95), released
voice, as she talks to
centuries ago
recently by Harry
the angel.
Potter's American
This immensely
publisher, an all-the- more unlikely
beautiful novel, heavily buttressed
title, its heroine being Elvina, the
by meticulous historical research,
funny and feisty granddaughter
not only sheds light on one of
of the great 11th-century Jewish
Judaism's most stellar minds,
scholar Rashi.
Rashi, and Jewish life in his time,
Despite traditional, confining
but also creates a heroine in
gender roles, Elvina refuses to
Elvina who, despite the 10 centu-
limit herself to a humdrum domes-
ries that separate her from con-
tic life. Having been taught to
temporary readers, is nonetheless
read and write by her grandfather
deeply relevant today. bi

Liel Leibovitz

The Jewish Week

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September 14 a 2006

63

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