Daily Archives: January 12, 2020

An Unorthodox Match: A Novel Book Review

It has been said that sometimes when things go bad, they are actually blessings in disguise.

Naomi Ragen’s new novel, An Unorthodox Match: A Novel, was published last fall.

Leah (previously known as Lola) Howard and Yaakov Lehman are both going through tough times. Leah was raised by a Jewish mother who was Jewish by history, but consciously rejected the standard middle class life that she was raised in in Brooklyn. Growing up in California, Leah was raised as a neo-hippie. Yaakov is a recent widower with five kids who life has fallen apart since his wife’s death. He is falling behind on his bills, his oldest daughter has taken on her mother’s role and his life is an overall wreck.

They meet in the Orthodox Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park. Leah is a baal teshuva, needing a new direction in her life after the death of her fiance. Yaakov needs someone to watch his younger children during the day. In the world of Orthodox Jews, a potential marriage is not ideal between Leah and Yaakov. But Leah and Yaakov are a perfect fit. Will this couple meet each other at the chuppah or will gossip and judgement tear them apart?

I’ve been a fan of Ms. Ragen and her books for quite a few years now. What I love about her books is that though they are set in the world of Orthodox Jewry, her characters are thoroughly human. One does not need to be Jewish or even an Orthodox Jew to get sucked into her writing.

As a reader, I felt for her main characters. Both Leah and Yaakov are lost and looking for something or someone to anchor themselves to. I also felt frustrated because this couple was potentially going to be torn apart not by circumstance, but by outsiders who believed that they knew better. In calling out the bullshit within this community, Ms. Ragen is challenging both her characters and her readers to not be so quick to judge others because they are different.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, New York City

Don’t Blame the US for the Plane Crash in Iran

The conflict between the United States and Iran goes back decades.

The latest addition to this conflict is the plane crash that killed 176 people just minutes after the plane took off from the airport last Wednesday. After going back and forth, the Iranian government took responsibility for shooting down the plane, killing everyone aboard.

However, while accepting that his people were responsible for the crash and the unnecessary loss of life, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif  stated the following:

“Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster,”

The loss of 176 people is heartbreaking. I can only imagine the grief that the loved ones of those who were on the plane are feeling.

The fact that Iran finally fessed up should not have taken as many days as it did. However, what bothers me more is that they are quick to blame the United States for the crash. Granted, the US Government has not always made the wisest decisions when dealing with Iran. However, in this case, the United States is blameless. The blood and loss of life is firmly on the hands of Iran.

May the memories of those on the plane be a blessing and a reminder of the cost of war.

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Filed under International News, World News

The Nanny and Home Alone Reboots are Unnecessary

Every twenty years or so, Hollywood looks to the past for inspiration. Much of this inspiration turns into reboots of beloved movies or television programs.

The most recent reboots to be announced are a Broadway adaptation of the 1990’s television program The Nanny and the early 90’s Christmas classic Home Alone.

As I see it, both are unnecessary. As much as I dislike the overuse of stereotypes, The Nanny is a charming and funny program about a fish out of water with a Sound of Music narrative. Home Alone and it’s first sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York are outright classics. After all of these years, not only do I not only know these movies by heart, but I always have a few belly laughs while watching the films.

While I understand the reason for wanting to reboot both The Nanny and Home Alone, neither reboot is necessary. Its as if there are no new ideas in Hollywood or producers are unwilling to consider new writers with new narratives.

I have an idea. Instead of rebooting older ideas, how about giving new writers with new voices and new stories a chance? I have a few stories that I would love to see transferred from page to screen.

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Filed under Movies, Television