• Review
By – August 31, 2011
Hush takes the read­er into the Chas­sidic world through the eyes of Git­tel, a young woman who is tor­ment­ed by a child­hood secret. The Chas­sidic world of Bor­ough Park depict­ed in this nov­el is a com­plex tapes­try. The read­er sees a com­mu­ni­ty filled with fam­i­ly love, a sense of com­mit­ment to oth­ers in the com­mu­ni­ty, and ded­i­ca­tion to the study of Torah. At the same time, woven into this com­mu­ni­ty are strict­ly guard­ed reli­gious tra­di­tions, rigid­ly enforced gen­der roles, deepseat­ed ani­mos­i­ty toward out­siders, and a too often unbend­ing enforce­ment of norms even though the effect may be dele­te­ri­ous to some of its most vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers.

I thor­ough­ly enjoyed read­ing this book and step­ping into the joys of tra­di­tion­al obser­vance and the warmth of the com­mu­ni­ty while at the same time learn­ing of its pos­si­ble dan­gers. The book is both grip­ping and poetic. 

The author, Eish­es Chay­il, is a pseu­do­nym mean­ing woman of val­or” in Tal­mu­dic lit­er­a­ture. The book jack­et reports that she attend­ed Chas­sidic schools, syn­a­gogues, and sum­mer camps and is a direct descen­dant of the major founders of and lead­ers in the Chas­sidic world.” She holds a master’s degree in cre­ative writ­ing and has worked as a jour­nal­ist for sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al Ortho­dox news­pa­pers. She lives on the East Coast of the Unit­ed States with her fam­i­ly. Acknowl­edge­ments, author’s note, glossary.
Car­ol Poll, Ph.D., is the retired Chair of the Social Sci­ences Depart­ment and Pro­fes­sor of Soci­ol­o­gy at the Fash­ion Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy of the State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York. Her areas of inter­est include the soci­ol­o­gy of race and eth­nic rela­tions, the soci­ol­o­gy of mar­riage, fam­i­ly and gen­der roles and the soci­ol­o­gy of Jews.

Discussion Questions