In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, a young Orthodox Jewish woman in the holy city of Jerusalem is expected to marry and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah's arrival. While the feisty Esther Kaminsky understands her obligations, her artistic talent inspires her to secretly explore worlds outside her religion, to dream of studying in Parisand to believe tha...more
Esther, the Jerusalem maiden, captures her readers with her innocence and ushers us right into experiencing life in early 1900 Jerusalem. We grow with her, empathize with her doubt and devotion, and urge her to make right decisions as we swiftly turn pages to see what comes next. It seems not one thought is left untold. As...more
By Talia Carner
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 5 stars
It is not often that this reviewer finds a book where just one word can sum up the review, but Jerusalem Maiden is just such a book.
Talia Carner writes a literate, compelling story that reaches readers on so many levels.
Intimately following Esther’s life, from September 1911 as an 11-year-old girl until December 1924 as a 25-year-old woman, readers will immediately connect to Esther. The author’s writing is impeccab...more
This isn't a bad thing though. I'm familiar with some Jewish traditions and rituals, but this book took them all to a new level with the strictness Esther and her family lived by those rules. Just being kosher wasn't even - but being raised, as a...more
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Caught in a web of traditions, customs and family obligations Esther Kaminsky is torn between adhering to the stringent rules of an orthodox Jewish woman’s life or pursuing her passion, her talent for creating pictures using her artistic skills, Following her dreams was not an option during the Ottoman Empire. Marriage, children and adhering to the prospects of your God and religion expected. Close friends forever, Esther and Ruthi often...more
When the novel begins, Esther Kaminsky is living Jerusalem during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. She is one of several children, and she is fixing to come of age and be married off so that she have children and usher in The Messiah. Esther has a longing to become an artist, but she is torn be...more
Jerusalem Maiden is a story of a young, ultra-orthodox Jewish woman in the beginning of the 1900's. Forbidden to paint by her religion, she goes through religious and emotional turmoil because of it. The...more
[From the author: In my Grandmother Esther, whose cook...more
Having a voice or form of self-expression is a constant struggle for feisty Esther living in the midst of a repressive society. The Haredi community of Jerusalem Maiden allows no independence for women apart from their fathers or husbands. Women are expected to bear children, cook, do laundry and be obedient. Esther anticipates a life of marrying young and having many sons to hasten the arrival of th...more
This book fell prey to a trend that is becoming a pet peeve. Why must every character go through a sexual revolution to find their true identity. Ester lives a life of such secluded modesty, that she manages to not speak...more
My other problem was that she was always saying to herself, it is g-ds plan.
I have a problem with this, I am Jewish, since I was growing up every rabbi, that I have known. Have taught us that you just don't take it, it is your choice to make decisions. You don't...more
The main character is Esther Kaminsky, and her story begins in Jerusalem in 1911, a time when the Ottoman Empire was nearing the end of its rule. She is a multifaceted character, and her beliefs in G-d and conforming to those beliefs often are at odds. She is often torn between faith and...more
In this case, it is the ultra-orthodox Jewish culture of Jerusalem in the first decades of the 20th century. I had previously not understood the term "Haredi". These ultra-orthodox, conservative Jewish women are characterized by extreme modesty in dress, humility, and strict adherence to a set of religious laws surrounding conduct.
With this as the background culture/setting, the reader is introduced to Esther as a 12-year old Jerusalem...more
The novel opens in the year 1911 in Jerusalem. Our heroine, Esther, is a young Jewish girl, being raised in an ultra-orthodox home, and she is nearing the time when she must marry and fulfill the destiny as laid out by her faith and her culture. Except, Esther has a rare gift for painting. She longs to see the world, focus on her art and above a...more
The setting of this book was wholly alien to me and yet Carner's writing and brilliantly conceived characters plunged me into the story and Esther's world. Esther might be one of the most moving and compelling heroines I've read in a long time: her complicated relationship with her faith,...more
When the story opens, Esther is a young girl living in Jerusalem in the most conservative of ultra-orthodox communities of Haredi Judaism in 1911. The book’s dedication is to another Esther, the gr...more
This novel itself i...more
In this case the writing was so good that I was som...more
Our “heroine,” Esther, is growing up in Jerusalem during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. She is part of the Haredim, a group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews that believe they are the chosen of The Chosen and are responsible not only for the bringing of the Messiah but for the fate of all the world’s Jews. A lot of pressure to say the...more
The author did a good job of explaining some of the Jewish phrases for those of us who do now understand. She also wrote well about the traditions and restrictions of the community. I was intrigued with the culture in the book.
There are parts of th...more
This was also a book club read and it is best to keep in mind the time in which when this book was set, 1911 to 1968. The world was a very different place for women then, N...more