Official Review: Women and God by Philip Graubart

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Latest Review: Women and God by Philip Graubart

Official Review: Women and God by Philip Graubart

Post by mmm17 »

[Following is an official review of "Women and God" by Philip Graubart.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Things get messy at the Hebrew Theological Institute in New York when Rabbi Moishe Weinstein is accused of inappropriate behavior by a student. Hannah Wong opens floodgates when she accuses the charismatic seventy-seven-year-old rabbi of sexual misconduct. Women and God, written by Philip Graubart, begins when Miriam, president of the Rabbinical Assembly, asks Rabbi Yael Gold to investigate the allegations. Yael, who was also Moishe’s student, travels from her home in Nevada to investigate the claims.

The book has many positive aspects, and I enjoyed it very much. For starters, it has well-developed, complex characters. Yael, the protagonist, is a multidimensional woman who has to deal with her emotional scars as the investigation progresses. Yael’s father was an adulterer, so the whole thing stirs up deep-seated psychological issues and unwelcome memories from her past. Peter, Yael’s wife, is also a multidimensional character. He had been Moishe’s musical director for a couple of years, and the rabbi introduced them and persuaded Yael to choose him instead of her former boyfriend, Simon.

The plot is also a plus. The author writes well, and there are several interconnected threads. The points of view vary; some chapters have Yael’s point of view, some have Moishe’s, and a few have Peter’s. The author weaves all threads skillfully, and as the investigation moves along, many dark secrets surface.

Above all, I appreciated how the author brings up sociopolitical angles. This aspect was what I liked the most about Women and God. Graubart paints Jewish culture and controversies in bold strokes. For instance, there are references to BDS (boycott, divest, and sanction) actions urged against Israel by pro-Palestinian groups. Additionally, the book explores how the issue is not only calling out predatory practices and behaviors but also exposing the power structures that enable and normalize them. Many of us are familiar with the Harvey Weinstein debacle and the #MeToo movement, and there are well-put references to them throughout the story. It left me thinking about Yael and the larger issues of dealing with emotional scars (“Maybe I was investigating men. The whole sloppy species with their wandering hands and pretty lies and incorrigible sex drives.”) and finding the truth (“Or if it’s even possible to know the truth.”)

In closing, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. It has the right mix of suspense and drama, and I found no noteworthy negative points. It seems professionally edited, with only a few minor capitalization issues that do not detract from the reading experience. I recommend it to readers who like thrillers. Also, those who are interested in religious (particularly Jewish) issues and sexual misconduct claims should consider reading this book.

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Post by Dman_1996 »

This book sounds up my alley! I'm not Jewish, but I believe from reading this book that I can learn more about the Jewish faith. The topic of sexual assault in the church has been one that's been in the news for the last couple of years, so I want to see how this book plays out what's been going on in the media.
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Post by sssns »

It is interesting to follow the investigation of a controversial religious issue from a woman's perspective. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Post by amrinzaeda »

I love when characters are well-developed and the plot is thick with interconnected storylines! This sounds like it would be a really interesting read, and although I don't appreciate the anti-Palestine position, I respect another person's opinion and hope they respect mine. Thanks for your review, it was excellent!
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Post by Gbemisola Akinremi »

It's been an existing issue for some years now, the sexual assault thingy amongst those who are reportedly to Christians. The media has even made a huge mess of this issue. It would be interesting to know what this book comes to but I hope Yael's past will not interfere in the truth, if it happens to be that Moshe is innocent and was just framed. Thank you for an interesting review.
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Post by nikechi »

I honestly respect your reviews. They really go in-depth. :happy-cheerleaderkid:
I like to challenge and question societal norms so I feel this is a book to check out :happy-bouncymagenta:
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Post by GreatReviews »

investigation on sexual assult in religious societies trills. The book would give some suspence. Good that you found nothing to dislike a bout the book.
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Post by NetMassimo »

A thriller with ramifications concerning religion, the international situation centered around Middle-East issues, and more, seems really interesting. Thank you for your great review!
Ciao :)
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