The Sacrifice of Tamar

I was attracted to this book both by its premise and by its setting.  The Sacrifice of Tamar is the story of an Orthodox Jewish woman who is raped.  When she discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t know if the baby is her husband’s or from the rape.  In her fear of the repercussions of being a rape victim in that community, she hasn’t told anyone of the rape.

What should she do?  Does she keep the baby and hope for the best?  Does she go against everything she believes and abort?

Naomi Ragen does a great job of exploring the walls we create to keep ourselves safe inside our religion, the importance of acceptance by our community and how we cope with a possible tear in our own identity.  Tamar struggles all her life with this secret, keeping everyone outside her walls.  When the secret is discovered, it almost destroys her and everyone around her.

I thought Ragen did a great job of developing a flawed, but loveable main character.  Even as you know she’s making bad choices, you still hope the best for her.  And she made her relatable even to those outside that religion.

I found the look into Orthodox Judaism fascinating, particularly for the struggle with the same things with which we all struggle.  What is grace and how on earth do we accept it?  What is this mystery of marriage and how does it actually work?  Can I control my own destiny?

As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book, even though it dealt with some pretty tough themes.  I will be reading more of Ragen’s books, as reviews indicate that her other books are even better.

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