The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Ladies Auxiliary is our May book club selection. It took me about a week finish (long for me), even though I did find most of it quite interesting and thought provoking.
The Orthodox Jewish community of Memphis, Tennessee, is shaken when Batsheva and her daughter move in. Batsheva claims to be a convert, but she doesn't act the same way everyone else acts. Her clothing isn't quite as modest. She has a tattoo. She sings too loud. Her many faults are glaring and the women of the community don't like her influence. But, they have to admit that some of her actions make them think about the traditions they've followed their entire lives. Why are they doing them? Are they excited about being Orthodox like Batsheva appears to be?
This "understanding the why" is something that is being stressed in my own LDS religion, so I was able to relate to that aspect.
The Jewish traditions and some of the words were quite foreign to me. I was happy that some of the characters came to a realization that they needed to be truly converted, and understand why they were doing what they had done all of their lives, although I would have enjoyed a little more information so I could understand what they were doing too.
The gossiping in this small community was heart breaking. Batsheva wasn't really given a chance. This seems so common in communities that profess to love God and live His Word. Judging is so easy. Getting to truly know someone, and understand them is hard. It's a shame that so many of us take the "easy" road.
The book was a bit slow moving (especially near the end). I was hoping for more resolution, but at least it made me ponder whether or not my focus is on the why, instead of the what.