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Mazzel tov

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,663 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Zes jaar lang begeleidt Margot Vanderstraeten de kinderen van de Schneiders bij hun huiswerk. Via dochter Elzira en zoon Jakov krijgt ze geleidelijk aan toegang tot de gesloten joods-orthodoxe wereld van dit Antwerpse gezin. Hier heersen religieuze wetten en eeuwenoude tradities die de Vlaamse studente maar moeilijk kan rijmen met de tijd: de jaren negentig. De joodse fami ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 13th 2017 by Atlas Contact
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  2,663 ratings  ·  272 reviews


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Marc
Mar 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Margot Vanderstraeten (° 1967) is a Flemish reporter and novel writer. This novel is the autobiographical account of her relation with the Jewish community in Belgium: 30 years ago she worked as a working student for an orthodox Jewish family in Antwerp, supporting their children in their homework. Gradually she became intimately acquainted with the very particular customs of this community. Vanderstraeten particularly struggled with the of paradox of the Jewish obsession to stay under the radar ...more
D
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, dutch
There are many flavors within judaism: from strict Orthodox, over Conservative to the most liberal Reform denominations. This book describes the evolving relationship between a goj, a female student, and a Modern Orthodox Jewish family. The Modern Orthodox denomination combines a strict orthodox observance of the rules and rituals with an acceptance of the modern world and a desire to study non-religious topics and to pursue a profitable professional life, just like (some) non-Jewish people do.

T
...more
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
I was expecting a cutesy strange bedfellows read, full of funny anecdotes about culture clash and sweet moments of revelation. Mazel Tov is nothing like that. It’s a reserved, but provocative, account of family and religion, and also language, politics, marriage, history, and oppression. The children of the Schneider family are curious, but pious, and in many ways end up teaching Margot more than she teaches them.

An extended review is available at Keeping Up With The Penguins.
...more
Fenna Rubingh
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i got everything i wanted out of this book. a beautiful story of friendship between a flemish woman and an orthodox jewish family, evolving from when the children were young, to them becoming adults and having children of their own. by being allowed into their world, this memoir enables you to learn an extraordinary amount about the community. all in all, very very interesting !
Tripfiction
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memoirs set in the Orthodox community of ANTWERP
Our review on You Tube: https://youtu.be/m6FHf6SbM2M



The 20 year old author applied for a job to work as a tutor for the four children of the Schneider family (she has changed their name to preserve their anonymity), a modern Orthodox Jewish family living in Antwerp. Her main charge is Elzira, who suffers from dyspraxia and needs quite some work on her self esteem. So the narrative in Part 1 is very much about her experiences in an alien culture and
...more
Raphael
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional read! The author is honest and brilliant. Before its conception I actually felt the need for the presence of this kind of book in the world.
The desperation of the feeling ''why do people make life for themselves harder than it's already designed to be'' versus the need for deeper understanding and mutual respect makes this book as engaging as it is complex.
...more
M
Dec 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a Jew, I am always cautiously optimistic when it comes to books about Jews and our communities that are written by gentiles. I felt uncomfortable reading much of this book. I felt there were both implicit and explicit antisemitic views offered throughout this book.

My first point of concern came fairly early, when the author expressed suspicion against Mr Schneider for working in an area near the train tracks in Antwerp, from which many of the area's Jews were being deported to concentration
...more
Anna Rubingh
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really beautiful book. Had an interest in learning more about the Orthodox Jewish community after watching and enjoying Unorthodox on Netflix. The book takes place in multiple settings of Antwerp, Israel and New York, adding to its depth, and was multi-faceted, featuring the author’s reservations and struggles about aspects of the Orthodox culture which made it more raw and real. Furthermore, I enjoyed learning more about Iranian culture and the Arab world through her prominent relationship wi ...more
Vanya
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My life changed when I first read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, her account of living in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Netherlands. Ever since, I have actively sought out works that enhance my understanding of the WWII and the cultural and historical contexts that fomented it. When I first heard of J.S. Margot’s memoir, Mazel Tov, which recounts her experiences of being in close contact with an Orthodox Jewish family, I knew I had to read it. I am glad to report readers that I m ...more
Danny Jacobs
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An astonishing mustread
Penelope
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was chosen for April for the Read Around the World Book Club.
It was a fascinating exploration of a traditional Jewish family in Belgium, a subject I knew nothing about and as I have not visited Belgium that was interesting to further explore too. The author of this memoir was employed to tutor the four children of the family and in becoming especially close to two of them she found herself caught up in a way of life at once both strange to understand but endlessly interesting. Her mist
...more
Julie Reynolds
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rare glimpse into Modern Orthodox Jewish life, this book was beautifully written. I assumed she changed the identity of family members as they requested. That a gentile woman became in a sense an honorary family member was very powerful and touched my heart. Well worth the read.
Donna Boyd
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author, for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my honest review. Mazel Tov: The Story of My Extraordinary Friendship with an Orthodox Jewish Family by Margot Vanderstraeten (J.S. Margot) is a warm, funny, honest memoir. It is a story of connections and unlikely friendships formed when a 20 year old student takes on the task of tutoring four children from an Orthodox Jewish family. Undaunted by the fact ...more
Inge Quets
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read, very accesible, step into the Jewish culture
Braekeveldt
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Great and interesting story of cross - religious relationships.
Anne
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting look inside the Jewish community!
Kristof Verbeke
Sep 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Very smooth read. Very interesting. Did not learn many new things. More a book about society and its diversity, plurality and multicultural ways then about jews imo.
Ellen
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure 🤔
Alison
I should stop reading memoir*. I really expected to like this, and I really didn't. I have a deep interest in people living lives defined by faith, and how faith interacts with structured belief. And how our broad beliefs impact on our everyday decisions. So this insight into a European Modern Orthodox family was likely to be right up my alley. Unfortunately, everybody in the book annoyed me. It was like a group of people getting frustrated by others not seeing the world as they did - the 'clash ...more
Sharondblk
I was given a free e-book by NetGalley and Pushkin Press in exchange for an honest review.
If I had to summarise this book in one sentence it would be: Atheist gets job in orthodox Jewish household, is quite judgemental, learns nothing and exploits the relationships to get a book deal.
It’s billed as a memoir – but a memoir of whom? The author gives very little of herself. The patriarch of the family she is writing about asks her not to write about the family. She reports this, and yet here is tha
...more
Sharondblk
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I was given a free e-book by NetGalley and Pushkin Press in exchange for an honest review.
If I had to summarise this book in one sentence it would be: Atheist gets job in orthodox Jewish household, is quite judgemental, learns nothing and exploits the relationships to get a book deal.
It’s billed as a memoir – but a memoir of whom? The author gives very little of herself. The patriarch of the family she is writing about asks her not to write about the family. She reports this, and yet here is tha
...more
Ruth
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How does a rebellious College Student develop a close relationship with a family consumed in their traditional world?
Reading Margo’s memoirs felt like an adventurous journey into the world of an Orthodox Jewish family.
For the past decade I have visited my son who lives in Brussels. On my arrival, I’ve often met up with Hasidic/Orthodox Jews in the Brussels Airport. As I observed the distinct appearance of Hasidic/Orthodox Jews, I often wondered about this culture. They appear to be like a higher
...more
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
Even though the interview went rather poorly, the Schneider family employs the narrator as a tutor for their four children. The two boys cope with school quite well, but the oldest daughter Elzira struggles and needs support. The children do not go to an ordinary school, just like the family is not the ordinary Antwerp family. They are Orthodox Jews and with her tutoring job, the doors to a completely new world open for the young student. Gradually, she does not actually become a member of the f ...more
Alex Wilson
Some of this book was great while other parts were quite jarring, so overall 3 stars for me.

I really liked the descriptions of the different cultures, languages and architecture in Antwerp, and the insights into the backgrounds of the family and the author - it was very interesting to read how their chance collision of very different worlds resulted in a long-term friendship.

Other things however, I didn’t like at all - it seemed that the author lacked any awareness or respect for some aspects of
...more
Annie
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader.

Mazel Tov is an engaging and warm memoir of the author's transformative friendship with a Jewish family. Originally published in Dutch in 2017, this English language translation is due out 23rd Feb 2021 from Pushkin Press. It's 320 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is precisely as described: a warm friendly real memoir of the power of friendship. It emphasizes how our differences, from culture and religion to food an
...more
Dyslexic Bookmonster
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was interesting to read multiple opinions regarding aspects of Judaism, Margot wrote not only her own but also the opinions of the family Schneider. Really interesting and quite a feat that she still knows what has been said so long ago! Or perhaps she kept a diary, which would make remembering such details a lot easier?
Hana Pollakova
Reading Margo´s memoirs felt about an extraordinary relationship between an rebellious college student and an Orthodox Jewish family all this happening in the Antwerp. The book gives you an interesting insight into the Jewish family. So if you saw and enjoyed the Netflix show "Unorthodox" you are gonna definetly like this book. ...more
Steve Streeter
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a regular visitor of Antwerp I found this book fascinating - my imaginings were demystified and an intriguing picture was created - ultimately divisions across the planet never help but this book did open some doors of understanding to a somewhat closed world
Efri Mayer
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Best book of 2020!
Hannelinde
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This is hard to rate: I liked it and it was a quick and easy read. It showed how quick life can flip around and surprise you. I really enjoyed this.
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Margot Vanderstraeten is een Vlaamse schrijfster en journaliste.

Margot Vanderstraeten in de Nederlandstalige Wikipedia

Margot Vanderstraeten in de Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren

Margot Vanderstraeten bij "Schrijversgewijs"


Margot Vanderstraeten is a Flemish writer and journalist.

margot@margotvanderstraeten.com
...more

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