Read One Hundred Philistine Foreskins: A Novel by Tova Reich Online


One Hundred Philistine Foreskins centers on the life of Temima Ba'alatOv, known also as Ima Temima, or Mother Temima, a charismatic woman rabbi of extraordinary spiritual power and learning, and an utterly original interpreter of the Hebrew Bible. Temima is revered as a guru with prophetic, even messianic powers—one who dares to raise her woman’s "naked" voice even in theOne Hundred Philistine Foreskins centers on the life of Temima Ba'alatOv, known also as Ima Temima, or Mother Temima, a charismatic woman rabbi of extraordinary spiritual power and learning, and an utterly original interpreter of the Hebrew Bible. Temima is revered as a guru with prophetic, even messianic powers—one who dares to raise her woman’s "naked" voice even in the face of extreme hostility by the traditional establishment. Moving between two worlds—Temima as a child in Brooklyn and Temima as an adult in Jerusalem—the story reveals the forces that shaped her, including the early loss of her mother; her spiritual and intellectual awakening; her complex relationship with her father, a ritual slaughterer; her forced marriage; her "ascent" to Israel; and her intense romantic involvements with charismatic men who launch her toward her destiny as a renowned woman leader in Israel.True to Reich’s voice as a satirist of humanity's darker inclinations, the story is rooted in contemporary times, revealing the extreme and ecstatic expressions of religion, as well as the power of religion and religious authorities to use and abuse the faithful, both spiritually and physically, with life-altering and crushing consequences. Cynthia Ozick said of Tova Reich that her "verbal blade is amazingly, ingeniously, startlingly, all-consumingly, all-encompassingly, deservedly, and brilliantly savage." This has never been more true than in One Hundred Philistine Foreskins, a work of literature sure to be hailed as an immensely authoritative and fearlessly bold tour-de-force....

Title : One Hundred Philistine Foreskins: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781619021075
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

One Hundred Philistine Foreskins: A Novel Reviews

  • Hanna
    2019-06-02 06:26

    "What does it mean for a woman to be excommunicated, to be put into herem?" Temima calmly posed the question to Kol-Isha-Erva who had conveyed the news of this latest assault and then took down the words of her teacher. "Not to be counted in the minyan? Not to be called up to the Torah? Not to be honored with leading the blessing after the meal? To be banned from the study hall? To be isolated and excluded and treated with contempt? To be ignored in public? To be considered unclean and impure? To be regarded as weak and inferior and light minded? To be kept out of sight and confined to the harem? Is it at all surprising that over the centuries no one has really taken the trouble to put women into herem? I shall send word to the Oscwiecim pretender that I am honored among women to be singled out for official recognition and, yes, somewhat befuddled as to why he even bothered." Want to understand my relationships to Judaism? Read this book, featuring Temima Ba'alatOv, and the "Toiter Rebbe," the 11th in a long rabbinical line beginning with R' Nachman of Brastlav. Tova Reich is a genius.It is not for everyone. Actually, it is not for most people, due to the thatched interweave of biblical/talmudic/midrashic/halakhic/hasidic/israeli and ashkenazi cultural references that make up much of the emotional and intellectual force of the work. I often have trouble with Jewish feminist revisionings that lack a competence with the original source texts, choosing to skim and take only what is validating or can be molded towards an intended message, without care and attention to the depths of meaning contained within Jewish texts, and without honesty as to their true meaning. What is gained when we pretend that a passage or teaching is inclusive, when it is not, peaceful rather than hateful? This book is so much deeper. Tova Reich is yeshiva educated with serious yichus. She knows what she's talking about, and is ready and able to confront the entirety of Jewish textual tradition, with honesty and imagination.If you know the utter joy and devastation that is forming a relationship to womanness or femininity in a religious jewish context, and are not afraid of those who parody that painful sacred, this book is for you.

  • Evan Kingston
    2019-05-31 08:28

    Full review up on my blog:

  • Jill Meyer
    2019-06-25 06:15

    You don't have to be an Hassidic Jew or even Jewish, for that matter, to read Tova Reich's novels. She's written five in the past thirty or so years; "Mara" was her first and is one of my favorite novels. Her fourth novel, "My Holocaust", published in 2007, is one of the least politically-correct - and funniest - novels I've read. Every character in "My Holocaust" was venal and the book was a savage look at the Holocaust-memorial "business", both in the United States and eastern Europe. In her new novel, "One Hundred Philistine Foreskins", Reich returns with a softer book, in which she asks some questions about the Jewish vision of the Messiah, and who might ultimately be that person."One Hundred" is set mainly in Israel and is the story of Tema Bavli, born in the 1930's in Brooklyn, who has evolved into Temima Ba'alotOv, or "Mother Temima" after she moves to Israel. She was born and raised in the Hassidic community as an only child, brilliant and beautiful, who at the age of 11 mourns her mother's death. Her father, a wealthy sochet, remarries a young woman, scarcely older than Tema, who has survived the Holocaust and settles in Brooklyn as Tema's father's third wife. The young third wife is no more successful than Tema's mother in giving her husband what he prizes most - a son who will say Kaddish over him when he dies. Tema is educated haphazardly are as girls seem to be in the Hassidic community and she always seeks more learning. Finally, she's married to a fellow New Yorker and they make aliyah to Israel and join the Hassidic community in Jerusalem.After a few years in Jerusalem, Tema, now Ima Temina, has gathered a group of followers, mostly women, but some men. She gives birth to three children by three different men, but always manages to keep her band as she moves from Hebron to Jerusalem and to other points in Israel. Reich gives her main character the beauty, the charm, the learning, and the "people skills" to attract those who seek knowledge and see its dispenser in Ima Trmima.For the reader, there's as much interest in the Hassidic sects - both in Israel and the United States - as there is in Ima Temima and her smaller community. This is a world where the stories of Adam and Eve and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have as much relevance in how one's life is led today as they did two thousand years ago. Tova Reich carries her seeming innate distaste for Jewish religious figures from book to book, and they end up here in full bloom. Whether its the Osweciem Rebbe or a pair of southern black convicts reborn into black Hebrews with a semi-outlaw Jewish polygamous group, there's not an honest figure among the rabbis. Reich is a little more gentle with her other characters in this book; some actually have redeeming characteristics.But the main character - and one who I found very sympathetic - was Ima Temima. This woman who has tried to dispense wisdom through her unique power of interpreting Torah and by giving physical aid to her followers - who are basically a very motley, needy bunch - and is seen by the end of the book as a possible Messiah. But can the Messiah be a woman? In the uber-patriarchial rule of the Hassidic Jews could the Messiah be anything but a man? Reich doesn't give an answer. She gives the reader a woman, a leader, a visionary, who could be seen in many ways. From her supporters to her detractors, Ima Temima - or Tema Bavli from Brooklyn - is the center of so much light or darkness.Tova Reich is not an easy writer. Her sentences are much too long, sometimes seeming to stretch for pages. But she writes with a humor - always deadpan and ironic - and a sympathetic eye to the displaced among us. This book is a gem for the "right" reader.

  • Elaine
    2019-06-21 04:31

    I hated this book. Want a protagonist who is praised for her insight by those around her, but who's life is dictated by the men she mets? A woman whose every encounter with men ends in some sort of sexual assault? This is your book.Add to this sentences that run on for paragraphs, a book deemed satire but with most the satire available to a small few (okay, I like science and sci fi jokes, and these are only available to a select few, so perhaps I shouldn't judge on this level), and every other character so thinly drawn as to have no substance, and this, my friend, is a description of this book. I would have abandoned it, but I was reading it for a book club.

  • Yossi Gremillion
    2019-06-23 03:37

    DREADFUL, SIMPLY DREADFUL. I had to review this FARSHTUNKENEH book and had to read it three times. As I read the drivel and MESHUGAS, I kept looking at the author's picture and asking her, "Are you under any kind of anti-psychotic medicine?" FEH!!!!!

  • Rachel
    2019-06-09 01:18

    See my review at