David Bennett travels to Jerusalem in 1967 on a journey to find himself. His cousin Johnathan has been studying Judaism in Jerusalem and believes that his mentor, the chief rabbi, Reb Eli will be able to help David with his troubles. David arrives in Jerusalem planning only to stay one month, however, he is quickly taken in by the beauty of the city and Reb Eli's ways. When Reb Eli suggests that David visits a local brothel for help with his women's troubles, David is taken aback. However, when he finally decides to visit, David meets Tamar and his troubles seem to vanish. Meanwhile, Reb Eli's widowed daughter, Sarah is feeling depressed and out of place without a husband or child within her Orthodox community. Sarah longs to love once again and when a mysterious Englishman enters her home, Sarah's senses are awakened. As David and Sarah begin their new journeys in romance, the Six Day War breaks out in the Middle East and forever alters their lives.
Recreating the biblical story of Tamar in a more modern setting, Night in Jerusalem has a fairy-tale quality to it. I immediately felt immersed in the city of Jerusalem, from the golden glow of the city, to the quaint diners and the people of many religions mingling together. I easily took to David and Sarah's characters as lost souls as well as Reb Eli's comforting character. I was surprised at Reb Eil's suggestion for David's troubles as well as how sensuous many of the scenes were. Along with learning the tale of Tamar, I learned many things about Jewish Traditions and life in Jerusalem. The intricacies of Shabbat seemed beautiful and I wish I could have heard Sarah's singing. The Six Day War was something else that I learned of, I had no idea that this tragedy or the reasons why it had happened. The most interesting aspect of this story is the interwoven tale of Tamar told through David and Sarah. Their mystery to one another kept the story suspenseful and their romance kept me intrigued. Overall, an interesting portrait of Judaism in 1960's Jerusalem interwoven with an updated biblical story.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.