This post is inspired by I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits. Though not sisters by blood but through their Hasidic faith, Mila and Atara views the rules and structure of their culture differently. Mila seeks comfort in the Torah while Atara searches for answers in secular literature she is forbidden to read. Ultimately each must make an irrevocable decision that will change their lives forever. Join From Left to Write on May 8 as we discuss I AM FORBIDDEN. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
This ancient story of trying to control others through religious laws never gets easier to understand. I find it particularly challenging as a woman and as ordained clergy. I also find it particularly obnoxious in the 21st Century and yet, we have seen a rise in the practice.
In ancient times the miracle of birth seemed more than miracle, it was mystery and it was particularly mysterious to men. Therefore, women must be controlled and an effective way of controlling anyone was through their faith. All power rested with men so it was not difficult to use this power to control women with religious laws.
The example of this as lived out in the Hasidic community of the novel, I am Forbidden, reveals the gut-wrenching choices women often made and the illogical knots people of faith had to tie themselves into to conform. For examples in today’s world, we need look no further than the recent controversy between Catholic nuns and the Catholic hierarchy. For the full story of this conflict go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/american-nuns-stunned-by-vatican-accusation-of-radical-feminism-crackdown/2012/04/20/gIQAi4gkWT_story.html
I also commend to you a
KY Letter to the Editor on the subject of the Vatican vs. the
(Scroll down to Nuns Know Best).
As female clergy, I know well the fight that many of my sisters of the faith have fought in their various religions and in most all Christian denominations. Progress has been made in the 20th and 21st centuries but as the Catholic situation indicates, there is always the possibility of going backwards as well as forward.
I commend to you this well-written novel as an experience of how painful the results can be when we try to control others through faith.