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This audio book is absolutely incredible. The story which goes inside the lives of Hasidic Jewish families brings an onslaught of emotions. I didn't know that the holocaust reached into Romania, until I listened to this book. Then to learn that Hasidic Jews believe and teach that the atrocities that the Jewish people suffered during World War II by the evil Third Reich are somehow a punishment that they deserve . . . oh, my, it is so sad. Yet there is an order, an extreme love of family and tradition in these people that one cannot fail to see and appreciate. Josef's story is haunting and beautiful. And all through the book, I prayed that he would return to the brave Gentile maiden who rescued him and became his second mother, and who revealed to him the only mercy he had ever known in his life, the grace and love of Jesus Christ. This isn't a religious book. It's so much more. It's a book that makes one question things. It is sad, victorious, triumphant, and yet, you will end up, like we all do, knowing that we, human beings, alone, we are not enough. And we CAN NEVER BE GOOD ENOUGH. My heart broke every time that the Hasidic Jews chanted, Come my Messiah, come. They danced and sang. They punished themselves. They tried to keep a pure bloodline. Yet, all the while missing the gift that God send to them. Rejecting joy. Rejecting mercy. Josef's dreams of Jesus were haunting. This tale is beautifully written and the narration is just right.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book is a gem. It is not just a glimpse into life of the Satmar's hasidim, it is full of universal themes - belonging, love, honesty, devotion, interconnectedness of generations. It had a special meaning for me, because I am an immigrant, a Jew, and my grandparents and parents were Holocaust survivors. The pain of leaving one's country (despite persecution), losing loved ones, feeling like you don't belong, being rejected by your own family, by your own people is palpable in the book. Rosalyn Landor did a superb job, as always.
If you are not familiar with Jewish history and Judaism, read about it. Hasidut is a movement in Judaism. To me, their beliefs seem closer to Christianity, with the emphasis on Salvation, Resurrection of the dead in the "world to come", Messiah coming any day,divine holiness of their rebbes who rule like kings.It is a lifestyle, and they are not holier then anyone else. Satmar Hasidim do not acknowledge the existence of the state of Israel. Hypocrisy of their Rebbe, who saved himself by boarding the "Zionist" train, while his community was sent to the ovens thanks to his silence speaks for itself.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful