Tak­ing Tamar

Martha Lev-Zion
  • Review
By – December 19, 2011
Tak­ing Tamar was a sur­prise to me. I didn’t expect to be intrigued by what I thought would be the same old sto­ry. We’ve read it before: sin­gle woman adopts child with birth defect. Martha Lev-Zion is that woman. She writes in such a forth­right man­ner that the read­er wants to know more. We come to real­ize that even if it is the same old sto­ry, here is a fresh atti­tude. Martha writes that she wasn’t scared of tak­ing in a Down syn­drome baby. She nev­er even con­sid­ered the thought of how she would get along finan­cial­ly. All she could focus on was that these chil­dren were being aban­doned, and she could not let that hap­pen. She adopt­ed Tamar, and they were a fam­i­ly. When there were dif­fi­cul­ties get­ting Tamar a visa to come to the Unit­ed States, Martha tells of her Bedouin friends who were going to help by whisk­ing Tamar across the bor­der. The Bedouins were touched by the dif­fer­ences in cul­tures. This is an inter­est­ing point of view for an Amer­i­can, since we tend to look at sit­u­a­tions from our per­spec­tive. The Bedouins found it hard to under­stand how Martha could love some­one else’s child as if it were her own. The pho­tos at the end of the book are espe­cial­ly com­pelling because they show the read­er that Tamar is and looks dif­fer­ent. The pho­tos make clear the depth of Martha Lev-Zion’s courage and compassion.
Erin Can­tor is an inte­ri­or design­er, teacher of read­ing and math to third-graders, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer.

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