PEACE IN THE HOUSE: Tales from a Yiddish Kitchen

Faye Moskowitz, Author . Godine $23.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-56792-219-6

In recounting the tribulations of childhood, the confrontations inherent in marriage and the insecurities that come with illness and growing older, Moskowitz (A Leak in the Heart exhibits a superlative ability to draw the reader into the recesses of her heart and life, sometimes with laughter, sometimes with tears. Moskowitz's narrator, also called Faye Moskowitz, shares poignant stories of being raised a second-generation American Jew in a small Michigan town, in a household dominated by the Yiddish words and traditions of her parents who remain entrenched in the Old Country culture. Her mother spends her days attempting to pacify the wrath of her domineering husband, while the author relates how she spent much of her time distancing herself from her Jewishness and doing everything in her power to blend in with her gentile Midwestern peers. As she matures into a strong-minded and independent woman, her perception of her Jewish identity evolves. She endures difficult episodes (her mother's early death, her child's struggle with spinal meningitis and her own bout with cancer) along with her successes. An appreciation for the beauty and value of what she cast off as a young girl takes root and she seeks out her religious traditions, this time with her daughter, Shoshana, by her side: "To have been there to kvell when she mastered Aleph Beth... to have made such an intellectual and spiritual journey hand-in-hand with my daughter has been one of God's most gracious gifts to me... a long time coming, but worth the wait." This collection of stories will warm hearts and provide anyone grappling with doubts about their heritage newfound respect for their ancestry. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 10/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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