The Sacrifice of Tamar
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Sacrifice of Tamar

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  896 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Tamar Feingold's life is haunted by the painful, yet unspoken memories of her parents time in a Nazi concentration camp. Battling between her feelings and her religion, the secrets of her past threaten to explode and destroy everything she has.
Mass Market Paperback, 387 pages
Published by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1994)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,298)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Apr 09, 2009 Heather rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heather by: Sharon Gafny
Shelves: furrin, hebrew, translated
Stupid, closed-minded woman takes 40 years to grow the fuck up, at the expense of pretty much everyone she knows.

I read it in Hebrew translation, in case anyone cares.
This book made me seethe. (view spoiler)...more
Truly the worst book I ever read. An orthodox woman is raped by a black man, who of course just randomly climbs in the window of her sister's apartment while she is babysitting and rapes her. She is terrified to keep the child given her community's extreme racism, but does anyway. Ultimately the child she has looks white enough, but when his child is born with a dark complexion he blames his wife of being disloyal. She ultimately takes the child, sacrificing herself and her own social standing b...more
I really enjoyed reading about Tamar's life journey from young girlhood to middle age and how a tragic incident early in her marriage shaped much of her life. It was considerably better than the other book I read by this author, Jephyte's Daughter. The main character in this story was multi-layered, flawed and much more relatable. I will definitely try more of her work.
great insight into orthodox jewish community and rituals...and narrow minded ness...
Ellie Schwartz
It was sweet, so sweet, she (Jenny) thought, to be part of something bigger than yourself, to be joined together with a whole that accepted you and let you mingle your voice with theirs, your clapping hands with theirs. All her pent-up sorry and isolation welled up inside her small chest and flew out of her heart in the songs, like a great shout of joyous pain, it flew from her, rising and hovering and disappearing like polluting smoke dashed against the sky by the clean wind. (p. 97)

For all the...more
A book that keeps me an extra five minutes on the treadmill? Now that's what I call a good book. The Sacrifice of Tamar is about a young Hassidic woman who deeply believes all that her religion and community have taught her. She is married to a young man who is also deeply religious and she longs to give him a child (as is her duty). When Tamar is raped she tells no one at first. Defiled and horrified at her defilement, she reasons that if she keeps the secret to herself, only she will suffer. B...more
This excellent novel offers a rare and detailed glimpse into the lives of Orthodox Jewish women and couples and the struggles they face to maintain their faith in the modern world. The questions raised in the book strike to the heart of the religion it explores. How do we interpret ancient writings? To what extent do the interpretations depend upon the interpreter? And how do we stop walking the religious tightrope that is orthodoxy to find our own understanding of God?
The plot is gripping and...more
Michael Jenkins
The only highlights in this book was the opening chapters. It was heartbreaking to learn about Tamar sexual violation and how she tried to keep it hidden from her husband. Trapped in a marriage of guilt and shame, she tries to hold her values dear to her but is afraid of being exposed as a frail victim. Other than that, the lack of consistency was appalling. Not to mention how poorly these characters were written, none of their virtues shined. Also there were too many things going on at once,way...more
What is it like to be Tamar Finegold, a young bride, married to an academician Rabbi and Talmlud intellectual? How does the environment of the Ultra-Orthodox community in which she is part of receive a woman who has been “stained”? Is there security for a woman within the community when she decides to hide the truth?

Is there security within herself, or does the horrifying act that Tamar initially chooses to hide have repercussions psychologically and morally? So her actions and choices cross re...more
Delving into the ultra-orthodox jewish customs was a journey for me; it involved both New York and Isreal, real journeys I have taken. My trips had dealt with surface views, but not delved into nuances of an enclave jewish culture that exisited similiarly in two places. Tamar behaves as expected in her deeply religious community for years after being married to a Rabbi. However, she has a secret which wears her down as her life passes. Because she never told her husband that she was raped by a b...more
About a devout Jewish woman who is raped, and whose pregnancy turns her world upside down. I'm giving this three stars because it was a quick read and I did not want to put it down once finished.

That being said, I kind of hated it. I feel like Ragen barely tried. The rape scene was so unrealistic, the characters are all flat and predictable, and I was seriously irritated with Tamar. It's hard to read a book when you can't stand the main character. Did anyone else majorly doubt the fact that she...more
This was such a gut-wrencher. Even though someone told me the ending before I even picked up "The Sacrifice of Tamar," I couldn't put it down. I was totally and completely taken in by "The Sacrifice of Tamar." I felt hurt and anguish when Tamar did, and sympathized with Hadassah and her plight then ultimately hated her for turning her back on Tamar. I loved Jenny, and felt like she was a real source of light in the story.

Ultimately, though I loved the ending, I felt like it was disingenuous. To...more
Amy O'sullivan
I read this book to settle and argument with my mother. I felt that when she read the book she misinterpreted something and I wanted clarification on the jewish law/tradition she was quoting. I was not sure I would get through it as this was not my type of book to begin with. I was so surprised by the emotional attachment I felt to the characters right off the bat. I read the book while walking around the house doing what needed to be done, I could not put it down. The writing was wonderful and...more
Sheila Sorenson
Very thought provoking tale of religious beliefs, doctrines and lifestyle. Choices we make and how they shape us. Engaging characters and interesting storyline....Glad I read this! (almost done)
Linda Pohl
I loved this book. I felt it was beautifully written and took me to a community of people whom I've alsways longed to learn more about. I enjoyed reading about the traditons, rituals and daily lives of this devout group of Orthodox Jews. As I became entwined in Tamar's life, I could almost feel how frightened and alone she must have felt, keeping the trauma of the rape to herself. Life is about choices and Naomi Ragen beautifully depicts the struggles one woman undergoes that impact her life and...more
What a great read. I must say that I had real trouble with this book. I started reading it two or three times over the past year.

This past time, I made myself get past the first 75 pages and then really did not want to put the book down. Although the plot revolves around a woman's rape, the story is about faith, love and what heppens when one makes particular choices based on a limited amount of factual information.

In the end, I was very happy that I read this book!
Apr 16, 2008 melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to melissa by: Tami
The book was amazing though predictable. The only thing I didn't like about it was how they used a lot of Jewish words, that I didn't even understand and I'm Jewish. I would imagine someone not Jewish struggeling to understand some of the phrases. I really enjoyed how we really got to see the female characters' entire lives, from girlhood to grandmother age. Also, it showed how keeping women ignorant of the law hurts everyone in the end.
Enjoyed this thoroughly. I rated it 5 stars because I couldn't put it down and it gave me a lot to think about, and I'm still thinking about it. It had a sad and rather disappointing ending, but I can see if she had tied everything up neatly with a happy ending it would have been a stupid ending. So it all fit. Many years ago I enjoyed two other of Naomi Ragen's books years ago, "Sotah" and "Jephte's Daughter."
In most of the Naomi Ragen books I've read, the story pretty much grabs me from the beginning. This book did not disappoint. I also find that I really like it when she moves the story from the U.S. to Israel and other parts of the globe. Her writing is very fluid, easy to become engrossed and turn pages. Very moving and heart wrenching story.

Just started "The Covenant."
Oct 28, 2009 Mikki rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: curious about Yiddish
I learnt how much I didn't know about life in a religious atmosphere in New York! I also updated and improved my Yiddish!
This was an interesting book but I can understand why the religious Jewish community would find Naomi Ragens books contriversal!
It was the first book that I read after hearing about Naomi Ragen for so many years! Not for everyone but I quite enjoyed it!
I was fascinated by the customs of the Orthodox Jewish religion in this book. I think I was more into that than the rest of the story actually but the story is still good. An Orthodox Jewish woman is raped but she keeps it a secret from everybody. Years later something happens that forces her to question if she should tell her secret even though it's likely to cost her dearly.
Read this book for book club. If it wasn't for book club, I never would have made it past the first few chapters. It just made me angry. The disconnect between the religious fundamentalism and the everyday life of the deeply orthodox Jews in the book was striking. At the end, the book got a little preachy. The only character I really liked in the book was Jenny.
It's an interesting take on the Jewish religious community, but in a way that it's not so much judgmental. She also explains the religious laws and reasoning behind the things her characters do. While Regan isn't beloved by orthodox communities for her books about their lives, I'd highly recommend her for those that want a unbiased look at religious living.

I am really getting into reading Naomi Ragen's books. Just finished my 3rd. In her novels she incorporates Jewish beliefs and customs along with women coping with the stringent rules of their religion. Some survive, others leave. I have read and seen alot of Christian customs and now I'm interested in learning more about Jewish ways.
Jul 20, 2012 Anita added it  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Anita by: previously read books by author
A family drama about an orthodox Jewish woman raped by a black man in Brooklyn.

Portrays daily life of a not well understood religous group. There a finely drawn personal

glimpses of people that make you wish you knew & others that make you glad you never knew.

The denoument at the end will stay with you for years afterward.
Jamie is
compelling exploration of how love and religious conviction impact the life of a married woman who gives birth to her rapist's son without telling her family of the incident. appreciated the fact that any mention of the palestinian-israeli conflict was done in a sensitive manner and still in the voice of an orthodox jewish woman.
Three girls grew up together, all of them are Hasidic Jews. One married happily bus is raped by a Black man. She decides not to tell her husband, afraid that he will divorce her. She goes through life and has three children. Then her son has a Black baby. All hell breaks lose. ... I did really enjoy this book.
Pretty good book. It tells the story of an Orthodox Jewish woman. It made me mad at people who claim to be religious but who are more concerned with "what the neighbors think" than with any sort of true belief. Interesting ending, not sure I liked it but I am not sure how else she could have ended it.
I have been reading books by this author becasue she writes about the lives of women in the ultra orthodox Jewish community, both in NY, and in Israel. I have always been very curious about how those communities function, so while I don't adore her books, I have really enjoyed reading them.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 43 44 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
# of Children 1 6 Jul 14, 2012 01:35PM  
  • Rashi's Daughters, Book II: Miriam: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France
  • Jerusalem Maiden
  • The Rabbi's Daughter
  • The Outside World
  • Ten Thousand Lovers (Tel Aviv Trilogy #1)
  • The Shiksa Syndrome: A Novel
  • An Almost Perfect Moment: A Novel
  • Wherever You Go: A Novel
  • The Puzzle King
  • Jane Austen in Boca
  • All Other Nights
  • Peep Show
  • Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels
  • A Changed Man
  • A Pigeon and a Boy
  • Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know about the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History
  • The Last Jew
  • The Weight of the Sky
Naomi Ragen is an American-born novelist and playwright who has lived in Jerusalem since 1971. She has published seven internationally best-selling novels, and is the author of a hit play. Naomi also publishes a regular column that deals with Jewish subjects, especially Israel.
More about Naomi Ragen...
Sotah The Ghost of Hannah Mendes The Covenant Jephte's Daughter The Saturday Wife

Share This Book