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A Widow's Tale

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A Widow's Tale

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A Widow's Tale
by Dina Bar-Tov
Devora Publishing, Jerusalem & New York: 2006
Hard Cover ISBN: 1-932687-62-9
Soft Cover ISBN: 1-932687-63-7

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - November 5, 2007

A Widow's Tale is a marvelously written, poignant story, about a young woman's journey through widowhood. The focus of the story is on Dina, an ultra-orthodox, forty-two-year-old widow with nine children. Her husband, Dovid, was a congregational Rabbi, and Dina was his Rebbetzin (a term used to denote the wife of a Rabbi), and their marriage was a love match.

Losing a love one is never an easy circumstance to come to terms with, but when that loved one is your bashert (soul-mate), such a loss can be crushing. This is just the plight that Dina faces when her beloved husband, Dovid, dies unexpectedly while on a family vacation. Only forty-two when she is widowed, Dina's is left with nine children, the youngest too young to even remember her father. Worse, there is no life insurance and Dina is left to rely upon the kindness of family and friends to help her through this life altering and financially devastating event.

In A Widow's Tale, Dina Bar-Tov chronicles the life of this young widow, and follows her as she makes a new life for herself after widowhood. This could have been a morbid and depressing novel. However, it is not. Instead it is an uplifting and encouraging story that shows how one can overcome the impossible, and even find happiness when you think that it has been taken from you forever. The story is narrated by the widow, Dina, and it bounces from the present to the past, as she reminisces about her life with her beloved Dovid, a passionate Rabbi who was just coming into his own when his untimely death occurred. The author follows Dina as she struggles to remake her life as a single parent, balancing work, family, and the unexpected. Dina must also deal with the expectations of those around her - some of whom expect her to live the rest of her life in semi-mourning for her husband, and others who treat this highly intelligent and competent women as if she is an idiot who is incapable of handling her own affairs, or the charity monies that had been donated to her family.

Dina, however, is a strong-willed and highly capable woman who is not content to let others dictate her life, nor does she want to spend the rest of her life in seclusion. She is also not one to spend the rest of her life doting solely on her children. To this end she sets out to discover if there might not be another man out there with whom she can make a new life with.

Witty, compassionate, and realistic, A Widow's Tale paints a vivid portrait of one widow's life, and her struggles to adapt to this new moniker and to create a new life for herself sans her beloved husband. In addition Bar-Tov also provides detailed and honest insights into the world of the ultra-religious and the machinations involved in the religious dating scene - for both widows and first-timers alike! I highly recommend A Widow's Tale to all readers - widowed or not.

About the author:
Dina Bar-Tov was born in Brooklyn and graduated Brooklyn College with honors. This is her first book, but she has been a writer since fourth grade when she penned I am a Briefcase. Her eighth grade class nominated her for the 1975 Pulitzer Prize. She's running late, but still has hope.

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