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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris


The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris is about the rites of passage of a young Jewish woman, Chani Kaufman. She is caught between two worlds, the modern and the old. Her wedding will be in November of 2008 and we are entertained by her romance that starts in May of 2008 and reaches back to the 80’s in Israel with the romance of her older mentor. Tradition and religion always take a beating in the modern world. We ping pong back and forth between the past and the future while in the present, we are always confused, torn between customs and cultures and the here and now. It always comes down to the old rabbis with their homilies, smiles, and influential ways to keep the faith. It is fun watching as young girls get bridled and young men fall into place in such a strong culture. Marrying and then falling in love or not has been replaced with a more modern idea of falling in love then marrying. The state of the unmarried, the newly married, and the long time married is what Ms Harris plays with, examines, and presents in a personal and detailed manner in an honest, humorous, and humble way. It is educationally entertaining and real while still being tragic because we still haven’t figured it out especially when if we do the same thing over and over expecting different results. Culture, tribe, and customs are a strong gravity in the ways of love and marriage. Oh and then there are the parents to muck it all up. Shades of Romeo and Juliet, methinks.  “Resistance is futile” blurts out at one point conjuring the appropriate Borg metaphor in this human version of the collective.
In spite of adult interference and arguing, Chani and Baruch get them to let these two meet, a break in tradition and decorum. It’s a brave new world, a fear for the old world residents. This is a good story about freedom, the freedom to act when tradition frowns on it, when it is not the norm, when it makes people talk. This is a good story with a good ending.

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