In this honest, daring, and compulsively readable memoir, Reva Mann paints a portrait of herself as a young woman on the edge—of either revelation or self-destruction. Ricocheting between extremes of rebellion and piety, she is on a difficult but life-changing journey to inner truth.
The journey began with an unhappy childhood in a family where religion set the tone and deviations from it were not allowed. But Reva, a granddaughter of the head of the Rabbinic Council of Israel and daughter of a highly respected London rabbi, was a wild child and she rebelled, spiralling into a whirlwind of sex and drugs by the time she reached adolescence.
As a young woman, however, Reva had a startling mystical epiphany that led her to a women’s yeshivah in Israel, and eventually to marriage to the devoutly religious Torah scholar who she thought would take her to ever greater heights of spirituality. But can the path to spiritual fulfillment ever be compatible with the ecstasies of the flesh or with the everyday joys of intimacy and pleasure to which she is also strongly drawn? With unflinching candor, Reva shares her struggle to carve out a life that encompasses all the impulses at war within herself.
An eye-opening glimpse into the world of the ultra-Orthodox and their elaborately coded rituals for eating, sleeping, bathing, and lovemaking, as well as a deeply personal rumination on identity, faith, and self-acceptance, this is at its heart a universal story. For those of any faith who have grappled with their own spiritual longings, and for anyone fascinated by traditional religion and its role in modern society, Reva Mann’s chronicle of a journey toward redemption is an unforgettable read.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Rabbi's Daughter|
|Release Date: 10-30-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Rabbi's Daughter
How do you know if you have succeeded in repenting fully? You find yourself
in a similar situation where you sinned in the past but now you do not sin.
the Rambam, Hilchot Tshuva (Laws of Repentance)
I stare through the library window at golden sunlight reflecting off white
Jerusalem stone and long to be outdoors soaking up a tan. I want to head
down to Tel Aviv Beach, strip off my baggy clothes, stretch out on the
sands, and take a break from the rigid daily practice of soul-searching,
prayer, and study required of us at the seminary. It is scorching hot and I
imagine how cooling the Mediterranean waves would feel against my skin, how
they would wash away the perspiration that is gathering on my scalp and
dripping down my neck. But I know that sunning at the seaside is a pleasure
from my old life, the carefree secular existence that I have willingly
exchanged for the absolutes of ultra-Orthodox Jewish doctrine. Now I must
keep strictly to the modesty laws and not reveal my body in public. Yet even
though I pray and perform the mitzvot daily, I still find myself longing to
wear blue jeans or worse, a bikini.
The bikini I brought with me when I moved to Israel is now stuffed into the
back of my wardrobe, but I doubt it would still fit me anyway. I have put on
weight gorging on the kugel served at every Shabbes meal and the plates of
cakes and sweets at all the engagement parties and weddings which are part
of my new life. My slim body is now encased in a layer of blubber, and I
hardly recognize myself when I stand naked in front of the mirror. My once
flat stomach is p