Yeshiva Girl, A Novel by Rachel Mankowitz – a Review

“YESHIVA GIRL is IZZY’s story. She is a fifteen year old Long Island girl who has never fit in at her liberal Jewish day school, but when her father drags her to the Orthodox Yeshiva across the Island, she’s conflicted. She doesn’t trust her father or his newly religious behaviors, but the principal of the yeshiva is not as rigid as she expects him to be, and the new synagogue the family attends has its benefits too. The problem is, all of this is a scrim to hide her father’s escalating problems at work. He has been accused once again of inappropriate sexual conduct with one of his young female students. And Izzy believes that the accusations are true, and just the beginning of the real story of who her father is.”

Description from Amazon.com

Any girl’s teenager years are difficult. Being in conflict of her social, moral, and spiritual beliefs, Izzy wants and needs support from a mother who is unable to provide it because she is dominated by her husband, as well as her own spiritual beliefs. Further, Izzy is confused by her father whose moral beliefs and behavior are in conflict with his Orthodox Jewish beliefs. She doesn’t know if she should love him or hate him.

Many times while reading Izzy’s story, I wanted to reach out and wrap my arms around her; cry with her; guide and comfort her. I think this story could be about any teenage girl, Izzy just happens to be Jewish. This is not a heart-warming, feel-good story. It is honest, emotional and heart breaking. It is a novel that Rachel has masterfully told as if it were her own.

I highly recommend Yeshiva Girl andyou visit Rachel’s blog, The Cricket Pages.