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The House of Secrets

Best Seller
The House of Secrets by Varda Polak-Sahm
Paperback $20.00
Sep 21, 2010 | ISBN 9780807077467

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  • Sep 21, 2010 | ISBN 9780807077467

    Also available from:

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Product Details


“Polak-Sahm mesmerizes the reader with her encounters at the mikveh…brilliantly illuminates these tensions and their religious and cultural meanings, not just intellectually but, like all good anthropologists, in a way that produces a rich understanding of people’s lives.”
Christian Century

“A fascinating book . . . [Polak-Sahm] views the mikveh as a house full of secrets—the secrets of women, the secrets of life, the secrets of love and purity.”
—Peggy Cidor, Jerusalem Post
“Informative and fascinating . . . [Polak-Sahm] detail[s] a world many of us have no clue exists.”
—Olupero R. Aiyenimelo, Feminist Review
“A compelling examination of the nature and meaning of this ritual which has remained clouded with mystery and secrecy for centuries.”
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat,
“[The House of Secrets] truly lifts the curtain on this world, often unknown to all but its participants. . . . [A] captivating book.”
—Carol Poll, Jewish Book World

“Unique amongst works about mikveh in that [Polak-Sahm] draws on the deeply personal and revealing narratives of religious and secular women who come regularly to immerse. The stories of these women come alive here.”
—Marion Lev-Cohen, Lilith
“Totally honest and full of surprises . . . Refreshingly, this writing is neither a Pollyanna version of the laws of family purity nor a cheap shot at them.”
—Blu Greenberg, author of How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household

Table Of Contents

1 The Place 
2 The Balaniyot 
3 A Dose of Impurity 
4 Blood and Banishment 
5 Purity and Sexuality 
6 Female Rituals, Sisterhood,and Female Authority 
7 Between a Woman and God 
8 Between Man and Wife
Hebrew Bibliography
English Bibliography

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