Mazel tov to Nao­mi Alder­man! Her nov­el Dis­obe­di­ence, which was a final­ist for the Sami Rohr Prize and the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award for Fic­tion, has been adapt­ed into a film direct­ed by Chilean film­mak­er Sebastián Lelio and star­ring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams. The sto­ry is about a young woman who leaves behind her ultra-Ortho­dox upbring­ing – and the dis­tin­guished rab­bini­cal fam­i­ly she was part of – to seek hap­pi­ness and ful­fill­ment else­where. The movie just pre­miered last week­end at the Toron­to Film Fes­ti­val, but crit­ics have already praised it as a beau­ti­ful, fraught, and emo­tion­al­ly nuanced dra­ma” and a respect­ful and immersive..portrait…of the many forms love can take.”

The Rohr judges on why they loved the book: Many nov­els of dis­obe­di­ence in Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture, from the begin­ning of the mod­ern peri­od on, paint the world left behind in large­ly or entire­ly unsym­pa­thet­ic terms; when the main char­ac­ter is forced, by cir­cum­stance, to return to that world, one of Alderman’s achieve­ments is to com­pli­cate that pic­ture by ren­der­ing it in sub­tle shades and its inhab­i­tants as real peo­ple, not car­i­ca­tures. Alderman’s abil­i­ties are by no means lim­it­ed to ethnog­ra­phy, though; through a series of sur­pris­ing devel­op­ments, she explores how and whether change can come to a world that prides itself on hold­ing fast against change; and how her char­ac­ters’ var­i­ous dis­obe­di­ences are them­selves, if not nec­es­sary, seem­ing­ly inevitable.