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Seven Blessings

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  41 reviews
The closed, secret world of matchmaking in contemporary Israel provides the titillating pivot for a story of uncommon proportions. In Ruchama King's skillful hands, Seven Blessings maps out the complicated lives of five expatriate women and men whose search for a soul mate, in many ways, mirrors their search for God.

At the center of this fascinating novel is Beth, who at a
Paperback, 258 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 22, 2008 rivka rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to rivka by: Esther
Shelves: jewish, gr-author
4.5 stars

This book proves that Jewish Orthodox writers can get published by mainstream publishers without badmouthing the JO community or fitting into a "niche" (such as mystery). And it's a marvelous book besides! :)

For every "older single" in the JO community, and for anyone who wants to know what that can be like. Should be required reading for certain matchmakers of my acquaintance. ;)

I wanted a bit more closure on some of the minor plots, which is why I deducted half a star. Other than that
Kressel Housman
Mar 27, 2008 Kressel Housman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jews, women
Shelves: fiction, jewish, israel, torah
Ruchama King is my writing teacher, and her book achieves what I dream of. Kirkus Reviews called her “a Jewish Jane Austen,” and though she’s not quite as satirical, she is writing about dating, marriage, and people’s foibles. The character of Binyamin is sort of a Mr. Collins. He’s got a different brand of obnoxiousness, but his ideas about women are well worth the lampoon.

On another level, though, the Jane Austen comparison doesn’t quite do the book justice. It’s more than just a comedy of ma
This book is about five Orthodox Jews: Akiva and Binyamin (both ba'al teshuvah), Beth (who is having a crisis of faith), and the two match-makers trying to help them each find their soul-mates. Beth falls for Akiva but can't accept his medical condition. Binyamin rejects every woman he meets because they can't live up to his idealized notion of beauty. Tsippi the matchmaker yearns for a more passionate marriage herself, while Judy - a former rebbetzin - seeks to read and interpret the Torah for ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jun 05, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys well written novels with interesting and well developed characters
Recommended to Lisa by: rivka
Shelves: fiction, reviewed, novel
I really enjoyed this novel. It’s beautifully written. It’s very romantic (much more so than I expected!) and heartwarming. The characters are thoughtful, smart, feeling, psychologically astute, well developed, and have meaningful relationships. I really cared about them and was eager to find out what was going to happen in their lives. (I’d love a sequel!)

The story is about being married and being single in Jerusalem, as members of the Orthodox Jewish communit(ies) and the reader gets a detaile
Valeri Drach

Newly transplanted Americans, fresh on their spiritual search and search for a soul mate meet some resistance in themselves. Their matchmakers, Judy,a young mother, and Tsippi, married to a Talmudic scholar, are also facing spiritual and marital meltdowns. Everyone is searching, looking for more of a connection to the universe. Some comical moments, especially with Tsippi. Fireman certainly knows modern day Jerusalem and its densely populated, diverse souls. Beth, her central character, is very
This book started out somewhat distantly and ended up more close, but that I think was the point. The main female characters, Beth, Tsippi and Judy, each feel something lacking in their lives, and it centers around their self-worth. Beth is a ridiculously old single person, according to Orthodox standards, who feels she is losing her place in the community. Tsippi and Judy are coming to terms with the fact that they want more than just to be the silent "helpmate." I appreciate that their journey ...more
I think this is the third time I've read this book in the last few years. It isn't perfect, but I think the author does a very good job of portraying an Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem and what it is like to be a single member of that community. I also like the way the author writes about religion in a natural and respectful way; I think a lot of Christian authors could take a lesson from her. She portrays the faith of her characters in a sincere way without preaching to the reader. Many ...more
I was really excited to read this book. I really enjoyed Beth as she shared all her feeling about being set up on dates and her questions about Torah. I love her honesty, no matter whom she is speaking. I felt from the beginning she and Akiva belonged together only they each have things they need to work on of their own. Tsippi also shared her heart as she felt her husband wasn't romantic and she worked on that! This book is about people's lives and commitment to serve G-d in their religion. My ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Rachel added it
This book captures the challenges and blessings that come with being single long past the age when you thought you'd marry. Ruchama King deftly manages the stories of several characters of reasonable depth, capturing the ambiguities and twists of fate inherent in courtship and dating. She also provides an interesting look inside the lives of observant Jews living in Jerusalem. She squeezes in some thoughts about the Torah and portrays one character's crisis of faith with humanity and insight.
I liked this book about Orthodox, pious Jews in Jerusalem. It centers around 2 couples and 2 matchmakers, but it is more than that. The author discusses relationship issues between husband, wives, friends, teachers, students, Human creation as an individual and the Creator. A book about finding someone to marry but without a kiss because as a pious Jew, one doesn't kiss until under the canopy. Great bargain price book that I took a chance on.
I am in absolute awe of Ruchama King Feuerman's writing abilities. She's a fearless writer, tackling the subject of Jewish Orthodoxy and its arcane laws, mysticism, customs and regulations with open eyes and an open heart. She's the Flannery O'Connor of Jewish authors.
Marriage, marriage brokers, finding youself before you can offer yourself to another.
It's a novel, set in Jerusalem, with interesting information about Torah and study mixed in with the romance.
My favorite part was the transformation of a long-standing marriage.
Interesting read, and a respectful glimpse into a fascinating world.
I enjoyed this book, found it easy to get through, enjoyed the variety of the stories, and feel that it will help me gain a better insight into the world of the Orthodox in Me'a Shearim.
Jan 22, 2010 Nance rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone
Recommended to Nance by: Lisa
Wonderful book at so many levels. You are quickly transported into the world of Jerusalem, the markets, the culture, and her characters lives. An interesting examination of our human nature.
Reading this story caused me to alternately smile and wince as I recognized aspects of myself in the eloquent descriptions of religious singles and matchmakers living in Jerusalem.
This is about matchmaking in contemporary Israel. I loved this book. A guy we love in this book has Tourettes syndrome.
This book made me miss Israel and has such a warm & comforting feeling for me. I hope to see more from this author soon.
A charming little book about a single Jewish woman trying to find love and her place in a world filled with romance and couples. Trust me, I understand where she is coming from. The way the author integrated special Jewish customs and culture is interesting.
The Seven Blessings are said on the occasion of a Jewish marriage and that should tip you off that this is a classic marriage novel...but Jewish. So instead of an English country village, we find ourselves among the observant American immigrants of Jerusalem who are looking for love, looking for God, and looking for their place in the world. There are echoes of Isaac Bashevits Singer and Doestoevsky (one character has Tourette's) as well as Jane Austen and George Eliot, and that is high praise. ...more
I appreciated reading a book that had God as a main character, that normalized having a faith. It was a breath of fresh air. It was a little slow at first, but it picked up. This book felt like real life and I loved it
This is a story of love. Beth, who was not actively seeking love, is matched with Avita, a man with a physical problem. Can she find love despite what others may think? Binyamin wants love but believes that he cannot love another who has physcial flaws, no matter how small, because of what others may think. Both struggle to discover within themselves the courage to love despite what the community around them may think. Are any of us that courageous?
A lovely book ostensibly about matchmakers and matchmaking in contemporary Jerusalem, the desire to find one's soul mate; but ultimately about understanding, with the study of Torah woven throughout. Wonderful descriptions of Jerusalem, as one review stated, "you can smell the falafel."
I wasn't crazy about this book, but it was an okay read. I found the female characters, regardless of their marriage status, to be relatively thin and without a lot of deep identifying characteristics. The book seems to be trying to emphasize the search for love in marriage (even in shidduch marriages) but it left me without that feeling. The whole book was just sort of luke warm.
I really enjoyed reading about the modern perils of an Orthodox Jews trying to find marital partners. The book is well written, I liked how the myriad of characters came together at various times in each others eyes. The characters were likeable and yet conflicted - I especially loved the housewife who goes back to school to study the Torah, and finds her intellectual voice.
Not being Jewish, and even less familiar with Hassid, Hareidi or Sephardic Jewish practices, I struggled through this novel. The characters were interesting and the story line moved at a good clip, but I was lost too often in trying to figure out the terms or customs, and almost felt like the author was trying to inject too much of a ethereal quality.
Nov 04, 2008 Lizzi rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Although I enjoyed this book enough, it didn't strike a chord with me. Perhaps my expectations were too high, as I had just finished reading The Outside World which I loved. I did like the insight into life into daily life in Jerusalem, but I wished that it would have delved more deeply into the stories of all the characters.
This is a cute story about Orthodox Jewish girls who study the Torah and want to get married. It is an easy read and the only reason I read it was because I am in a Book Club. It is a chic book but it wasa fun read.
This book is about life in Jerusalem, arranged marriages, and learning Torah. Torah discussions are included as part of the action; it is inspiring me to learn more. It was also fun.
Enjoyable book about finding love. It's set in Israel and if you don't know much about the Jewish religion you might be looking things up fully understand the story.
Seven Blessings was one of the first modern Israeli books that I have read. Ruchama King introduces her readers to the religous culture of matchmakers.
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Ruchama King Feuerman was born in Nashville, grew up in Virginia and Maryland, and when she was seventeen, bought a one-way ticket to Israel to seek her spiritual fortune. Seven Blessings (St. Martin’s Press), her celebrated first novel about match-making, earned her the praise of the New York Times and the Dallas Morning News, and Kirkus Reviews dubbed her "the Jewish Jane Austen." She wrote her ...more
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