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The Sacrifice of Tamar

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,305 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
A violent crime transforms the predictable life of a young Rabbi's wife, leading to terrible sacrifices. Tamar Fine gold is a happy young bride in one of Brooklyn's insulated ultra-Orthodox enclaves. But this staid, predictable life is violently altered when Tarmer is raped by an intruder as she baby-sits for her nephew. Humiliated and confused, she refuses to risk the unb ...more
Paperback, 445 pages
Published January 1st 2002 by Toby Press (first published 1994)
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Apr 09, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok
Recommended to Heather by: Sharon Gafny
Shelves: furrin, translated, hebrew
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.
Sep 23, 2009 Lena rated it did not like it
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
This book made me seethe. (view spoiler) ...more
Nov 15, 2012 Sylia rated it liked it
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
Feb 14, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing
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
Linda Pohl
Oct 09, 2012 Linda Pohl rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2013 Dawn rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 06, 2013 Carissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing. Towards the middle of the book, you're sitting on the edge of your seat. Powerful, heartbreaking, fantastic ending!
Apr 11, 2013 Belle rated it it was amazing
This book's great....and is totally "Heartbreaking"...
May 20, 2012 Rhonda rated it really liked it
great insight into orthodox jewish community and rituals...and narrow minded ness...
Jan 01, 2017 Sheryl rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book - knowing Ragen to be a well-respected author and amateur sociologist when it comes to the Orthodox Jewish community - but I didn't. It is about a woman named Tamar who is married to a well-respected scholar in her isolated ultra-Orthodox community. Tamar is raped early in the book, and the results of that incident follow her through her life and that of her family.

What I did like about the book was that her two best friends represented two alternative approach
Nov 08, 2016 Jacqueline rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, fiction
A very good book on many levels. Makes you think hard about the place of religion in our lives.
Consuelo Murgia
May 15, 2016 Consuelo Murgia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
L’amore violato (titolo originale The Sacrifice of Tamar) è l’ultimo libro di una trilogia sulla vita delle donne ebree osservanti o ortodosse. L’autrice Naomi Ragen è nata a New York nel 1949, ma nel 1971 si è trasferita in Israele. L’amore violato è stato pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1995.

La protagonista Tamar Finegold, capelli biondi e riccioluti e occhi grigi, è la moglie di un rabbino di Brooklyn di nome Josh. Nel 1970 Tamar ha 21 anni, è sposata da due, ma ancora non è rimasta incinta
Ellie Schwartz
Oct 28, 2013 Ellie Schwartz rated it really liked it
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
Lynn Preston
Apr 09, 2015 Lynn Preston rated it liked it
I have read some of the other reviews of this book and I think I read the book differently. I saw the 'plot' (rape of an ultra-orthodox jew by a black man) as a vehicle to explore an extreme 'what if?' situation. In particular, following the written 'rules' that have to be obeyed by orthodox jews. The rules are detailed and complicated and Tamar doesn't really understand them but she can't ask anyone (particlarly her husband) as she fears she will become cast out by her family and friends. It is ...more
Dec 17, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 03, 2013 Michael rated it it was ok
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
Nov 25, 2012 Lorri rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 23, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2016 Samantha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't mind weaklings as main characters. 'Nuff said.
Shelves: jewish, library-books
Though I truly sympathized with Tamar, I found her as a character to be endlessly weak. She was basically a doormat her whole life! She let her sister walk all over her. She let Hadassah Mandlebright walk all over her. She let Josh walk all over her.Oh, don't get me wrong, I hated Hadassah too. They were both being smothered and brainwashed by ritual, which should have been a safety net, a refuge. But the difference between her and her archnemesis/friend was that Hadas had the guts to break free ...more
Feb 08, 2013 A. rated it really liked it
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
Daniel Stern
Jul 10, 2016 Daniel Stern rated it really liked it
The "Sacrifice of Tamar, takes place in an insular ultra-othrdox community. "Sacrifice of Tamar" centers mainly in Brooklyn and later moves to Isreal. In the opening chapters Tamar is raped by a blackman and later, the same night, has sex with her own husband. She becomes pregnant and is very concerend that the child may be the rapist's. (She keeps the attack a secret from all but her two closest freinds.) Later she is relieved when the baby born to her, a boy, is white. There's is suffuicient f ...more
Amy O'sullivan
Mar 15, 2009 Amy O'sullivan rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 18, 2016 RukiaNotKuchiki rated it liked it
Knowing nothing about various orthodox Jewish cultures, traditions and communities, I found this book fascinating to read. The central storylines of Tamar and her two friends was also involving, and one scene in the book even made me cry. FYI, in case you misinterpret my review, I read this book purely from a storytelling perspective so you dont have to have any interest in religion to read it. But the religious nuances and facts were brought to life in rich detail and it heightened my enjoyment ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Scott rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 30, 2016 Hanna rated it it was amazing
A wonderful tale of faith, compassion and love. Ragen gives an accurate and insightful portrayal of the Hasidic community and in doing so, she manages to handle the complex and controversial topics masterfully. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book this much. I have read some other works from Ragen's corpus but this is absolutely my favorite so far. Ragen is a unique voice and a skilled story weaver.
Apr 16, 2008 melissa rated it it was amazing
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.
Kirsten Pearson
May 27, 2016 Kirsten Pearson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful reminder that we should practice what we preach. The whole premise of the story, the shame and the horror of what happens to Tamar, just goes to show what happens when we hide behind the pretense of compassion and use our religious standards to judge instead of support our neighbors. This book is a wonderful reminder to love your neighbor as yourself. And to love yourself as your neighbor. Know their names. Choose to love them instead of condemn them.
Apr 05, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
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."
Apr 06, 2007 Jax rated it liked it
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.

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# of Children 1 7 Jul 14, 2012 01:35PM  
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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...

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