RAQUELA: A Woman of Israel by Ruth Gruber

RAQUELA: A Woman of Israel

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Raquela is ""beautiful and statuesque"" Raquela Levy Brzezinski Prywes, ninth-generation Jerusalemite, indomitable nurse-midwife, wife and working partner of two distinguished doctors, bereaved mother and sister, whose fictionalized life, papered with historical fact, serves as still another celebration of Israeli fortitude over the years. An early baptism of fire during the 1929 Arab assault on Jews prepared Raquela for the unceasing hardships of wartime and frontier nursing; even today, she commutes between Jerusalem and Beersheba. But her career and the book peak--as readers of Exodus can appreciate--when, just out of Hadassah nursing school, she sets up and operates a maternity clinic on Cyprus for the European Jewish ""illegais"" denied entry to Palestine. There, a woman bursts into tears at the sight of the star of David on her cap, and the news of where she's from elicits an astonished, exultant: ""Jerusalem! Yerushalayim!"" There, too, her love life takes on one of its periodic complications when she meets ""romantic, exciting, young"" sea captain Gad (buddy of Captain Ike of the Exodus itself) who temporarily overshadows compassionate, compatible, older Arik--who earlier displaced handsome, hot-tempered Carrel (who was originally her roommate's flame). But it's Arik she chooses ("". . . you and Jerusalem""), to love, honor, and serve with--until, after his death, the eminently eligible Dr. Prywes stakes his claim. Given the words and thoughts Gruber attributes to them, it's something of a shock to realize that these are real persons in positions of respect. They can't, of course, be held responsible for this trivialization of their lives--which, outside of a few strong delivery-room sequences, is simply not to be believed.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1978
ISBN: 1453206094
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan