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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Religion

Religious belief is another central theme of The Believers, embodied by Rosa's fitful religious awakening. But Joel and Audrey's long-established religious cynicism is equally important to understanding the role of religion in the novel.

 

What internal struggles drive Rosa's journey toward faith and Audrey and Joel's rejection of it, respectively, and how are both informed by the time periods in which they developed?

 

In what ways does Rosa's struggle to follow the tenets of Orthodox Judaism parallel Audrey and Joel's strict adherence to political dogma? What aspects of Rosa's upbringing put her in conflict with the culture and beliefs of Orthodox Judaism?

 

What does being Jewish mean to other characters in The Believers? What is the significance of Audrey's choice of venue for Joel's memorial?
Frequent Contributor
fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Religion

Religion does have an impact on this story.  I was amazed at first with Rosa's coming into her Jewishness.  She was raised with no religion, and now she wants the most orthodox Judaism out there.  It is hard for her, but I don't think she ever looks for the easy road.  She took socialism to the extreme when she tried to embrace that - by going to Cuba.  I am trying to remember if it wasn't actually illeagal for Americans to go to Cuba during that time.  I was curious as to how she got in and out of the country.  I also noticed that she gradually grew away from socialism as she saw it didn't work.  I expected her to gradually go away for Judaism for the same reason, but it seems she is headed to Israel.  Rosa is actually a rebel at heart.

MG

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Jennd1
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Religion

I agree that  Rosa is a rebel at heart.  I think she is investigating religion because of her parents lack of religion in their own lives.  I agree that I think she will move from the jewish faith to other religious ideas, but she is not there yet.

 

Jenn

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detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Religion

Perhaps a more superficial question here, but I'm curious nonetheless: I was surprised each time Joel or Audrey swore, "Christ!" or "Jesus Christ!" etc. It hasn't occured to me to swear using the names of holy men from other religions, so what prompts them -- is it purely American culture?
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Zoe-Heller
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎10-27-2008
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Re: Religion

On the question of how Rosa got into Cuba: she went originally  - as she explains to Rabbi Reinman - on a working vacation organised by a Cuban-American solidarity organisation. Americans have been doing this ever since the Cuban Revolution and throughout the years of the US embargo.  Even if you're not part of a group, it's a very simple matter to go to Cuba as an American. You fly there via Mexico and the Cubans don't stamp your passport. 


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Author
Zoe-Heller
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎10-27-2008
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Re: Religion


detailmuse wrote:
Perhaps a more superficial question here, but I'm curious nonetheless: I was surprised each time Joel or Audrey swore, "Christ!" or "Jesus Christ!" etc. It hasn't occured to me to swear using the names of holy men from other religions, so what prompts them -- is it purely American culture?

 

In my experience, atheist Jews do tend to use Christian blasphemies. There may be someone out there saying "Yahweh damn you", but I've yet to meet him or her.


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