Sondra's Search

Ester Katz Silvers, Author . Devora $21.95 (238p) ISBN 978-1-932687-95-8

This workmanlike religious coming-of-age novel follows Sondra Apfelbaum through her adolescence in post-WWII Lincoln, Kans. Young Sondra, whose maternal grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, feels isolated and confused about her Jewish identity. She doesn't know many other Jewish kids and even contemplates dating a non-Jewish boy. When Sondra is introduced to a more religious Jewish family in Kansas City, she is gradually drawn to keep kosher, observe Shabbos and so forth. There is not much here in the way of plot. Rather, Silvers simply follows Sondra as she delves deeper into Orthodox practice and halachic observance, particularly after her cousin is in a tragic car accident. Sondra eventually travels to Israel for a year of study and meets a young man, also from Kansas, with a similar faith journey. Israel-based writer Silvers produces bland prose, and occasionally she gives in to a preachy tone, as when Sondra's friends in Israel discuss the importance of shared religious conviction as a basis for marriage and lecture her about prioritizing Jewish family life over career. Still, this novel ably presents much of the beauty and meaning of an observant Jewish life. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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