The Marrying of Chani Kaufman; Eve Harris
Grove Press - 2014
Set in 2008, the neighborhood of Golders Green, London, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, tells the story of an ultra-orthodox Jewish couple about to be be married and how the Hasidic culture views love and marriage.
Baruch Levy, 20 is determined to marry Chani Kaufman, 19, a young woman he was attracted to the minute he saw her across the room. The background of the two couldn't be more different, except for their religious backgrounds. Baruch is the oldest son of a very wealthy family. His mother is a social status conscious snob. When Baruch tells his parents about the young woman he wants for his wife, they are not too happy with his choice. Baruch is a respectful son, but at the same time, he will not allow his parents to make him rethink his choice.
Chani, is one of 11 children (8 daughters) and lives in a somewhat rundown home. She has not had the privilege of a seminary education, which by custom ranks high in choosing a mate. Chani thinks Baruch will make a good husband, but she seems more interested in leaving the confines of her strict religious life. When she thinks about her wedding and especially about what the wedding night might be like, she's nervous -- no terrified of the wedding night ritual.
The author has written and eye opening book the I think many outsider's to the ultra Orthodox religion, like me will enjoy. The story opens as Chai is preparing for her wedding and takes the reader back in time when the Rabbi and his wife were advising the young couple about marriage. The flashbacks help to explain the reactions of the present day family members. The story flows well and is told in a fun manner. Most of the characters are both sympathetic and likeable as well. Chani in particular was one I admired -- headstrong, determined and smart. This is a great book for readers who are interested in learning about other religious customs and beliefs .