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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Isaac
It seems some members of London's Orthodox Jewish community didn't like The Marrying of Chani Kaufman. I'm guessing they weren't meant to.

This is a (mostly) very funny novel that is, literally, about the marriage of Chani Kaufman to her approved fiancé Baruch Levy. Chani is excited about the wedding but in fear of the wedding night. She has led a...
Published 8 months ago by MisterHobgoblin

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting glimpse of a little-known world, but not well written
This novel seems like an attempt to write a Jewish Orthodox version of "A Suitable Boy". And I confess that I found it quite exciting and enjoyable to learn so much about the way of life of the Orthodox Jewish community in London. I am glad I read this book!
On the other hand, I was often dissatisfied with the way it was written. None of the characters really come to...
Published 7 months ago by Pukka Sahib


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orthodox jewry in North London, 25 Nov 2013
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I lived for 30 years in North London, and drove through many of the streets and neighbourhoods which feature
in this novel. I was completely ignorant of the lives lived by the orthodox Jewish community even though I often saw the men and women in Golders Green and Hendon. This book lifted the veil, I found it absolutely fascinating. Recommend it most highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful book, 24 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. Serious yet with a light touch, it reveals the hidden world of the Hasidics in an interesting way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immersion into the world of the ultra-orthodox, 18 Oct 2013
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
The two opening chapters, set in November 2008, show ultra-orthodox Judaism in some of its most inhibiting manifestations: in the first, Chani Kaufman and Baruch Levy, aged 20 and 19, are about to be married. They have scarcely known each other; neither of them had as much as touched the other; each is ignorant and terrified of what lay ahead of them on their wedding night. In the second chapter, Rivka, the 44 year old wife of Rabbi Chaim Zilberman, has a miscarriage and Chaim is lamed while he tries to decide between the two Laws, one forbidding contact with a woman who is bleeding, another saying that the saving of life is imperative; and when the ambulance arrives, he is distressed that her hair is uncovered.

And more inhibitions continue for much of the rest of the book as it darts backwards (and then forwards again) for the events leading up to the wedding and the miscarriage. Yes, most of the characters in the book experience spiritual rewards in the rituals - and in fact, whereas Chani and Baruch had been born into ultra-orthodoxy, the Rabbi and his wife had not: aged 23 and 18 respectively, they had been drawn to it and had voluntarily embraced it back in the early 1980s. But now, a quarter of a century on, the Rebbetzin found the orthodoxy stifling and formalistic; her husband had become harsh and intolerant; and "the drug of spiritual bliss had worn off and she had little appetite for the next fix".

What is the author's attitude towards all this? There is humour in many of her descriptions: sometimes it is indulgent; sometimes compassionate; quite often mocking, especially in her portrayal of Baruch's wealthy and snobbish mother (one of the delights of the book is how the spirited young Chani stands up to her), and of the ghastly Mrs Gelbmann, the professional shadchan (match-maker). And at times Eve Harris seems really angry, when she describes how lives have been blighted. So some orthodox readers will be hostile, while secular readers who have not known anything about this life-style may be intrigued and possibly repelled by it.

The book is full of atmosphere and very well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Was hoping for more, 19 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed it but not as good as all the hype around it wish there had been one more chapter felt like it just stopped!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful debut novel, 8 Aug 2013
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This is an impressive, sensitive, and compassionate novel, which I really loved. At its heart is the plight of two women, Chani and Rivka, the Rabbi's wife, whose important and legitimate needs are not met because of the inflexibility of the rules and practices of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community in which they live. But the issues raised apply beyond that community to any society with a similarly controlling, but deeply and sincerely held, belief system.
One of Eve Harris's achievements is to depict the society which in some respects she criticises with understanding, respect, warmth, and admiration for its positives. Another achievement is her fascinating cast of main characters, with Chani and Rivka being particularly memorable. As the book progresses, you engage deeply with their problems, and when the it ends, you leave their lives with real regret.
Altogether, this is a fine and very readable book, and a remarkable writing debut for Eve Harris.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good, 22 April 2014
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The book is good, however I can not understand the way of life. This is looking into a different world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read., 20 April 2014
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
a very interesting insight into a community about which I know little although Iive in close proximity to it. I found the treatment of women sad and bizarre. , so little control over their own lives. all in all , very enlightening.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging read, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
This book makes me feel sorry for orthodox Jewish women and men alike. Religion and relationships seem reduced to the following of a set of rules, mainly nonsensical, yet clearly genuine emotion, love and caring develop and flourish nonetheless. There is an engaging development of several contrasting characters and their relationships, around the main character Chani. Despite enjoying the book I found the end a bit frustrating as I wanted more of a conclusion. However given the subject nature there was never going to be one.
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1.0 out of 5 stars An attack on Orthodox Judaism, 6 April 2014
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All the characters portrayed as being orthodox jews were unsympathetic at best, or down right mean, avaricious and hypocritical at worst. It seems that the authoress has some kind of vendetta against orthodox Judaism. She does not hesitate to tell outight lies about the sex education given to Orthodox young people. At the conclusion of her book, the one and only likeable orthodox character (Chani) decides that her fulfilment lies in pursuing maths and sciences. Her religion is depicted as outdated, archaic, superstitious, and something better abandoned. IN the opinion of this reviewer, her book is better abandoned.
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3.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Kindle Edition)
Very interesting book I would have found it a lot more enjoyable if the
Yiddish - English glossary had been at the front of the book to study first
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