This is the story of Jackie Semha, a young girl born in Tunisia to a loving family and community, yet one in which only boys are celebrated. Her journey from Tunisia, to France, Israel, Canada and finally the United States forces her to confront the disparity between the land of her birth and the land of her mature years. Her transition -- from a learning-handicapped tomboy sheltered in the womb of a loving community to a successful professional in a foreign land with an unfamiliar language and alien customs and values -- is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. The words of her teacher, Madame Sabban: Si tu veux, tu peux -- If you want to succeed, you can succeed -- gave Jackie strength and inspired her to help others find the faith in themselves to achieve greatness. Jackie's story is brought to life through a collection of superbly written vignettes with the help of the writer Hillary S Liber.
This interesting and informative book detailing the life of a Jewish woman born and raised in Tunisia and finally living in America is written in a series of vignettes. The order of the vignettes wanders from
The structured life of a very sheltered and privileged family is detailed although the effect of WWII is glossed over initially. When the author moves to France for university we learn more of her life and the life of her future husband as the Shoah (Holocaust) shatters Jewish life in Europe and North Africa. The structured life of observant Jews is detailed and made interesting for the general reader.
Finally the author lives out the advice of her first “real” teacher – If you want to succeed, you can – and finds a fulfilling and very successful life in America, the land of the bagel.
4 of 5 stars
I recommend this book, with an open mind, to learn about other cultures and traditions, and to understand why some of those who come to America are wanting US to change, not them.
I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is looking to learn about a foreign Jewish community.