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Christmas for Joshua by Avraham Azrieli

I loved the character of Rusty Dinwall from the very first page. He is a well-respected, compassionate man, a heart surgeon, and a loving husband and father.

Indeed, after falling in love with Rebecca, over twenty years before, he even renounced Christianity, embraced her Jewish faith, and is now president of his local Reform synagogue. A happy and contented man leading a devout life, and helping others.

This story begins on Thursday September 24th, it is Rosh Hashanah Eve (Jewish New Year). Rusty and his wife Rebecca are looking forward to a Skype call that evening from their daughter Deborah who is away at university, and cannot join them for the celebrations. However, Deborah is not alone when she makes the call, and introduces them to her future husband Mordechai, an Orthodox Jew.

Deborah and Mordechai announce that they will be marrying on 20th December in New York, and then coming back to her home in Arizona for their honeymoon.

Although initially surprised at the swiftness of the wedding, Rusty and Rebecca arrive in New York excited at the forthcoming celebrations.

With their daughter happy and radiant nothing, it would seem could possibly spoil such a perfect day, that is, until Rabbi Mintzberg arrives. When the elderly orthodox Rabbi announces Rusty is a shaygetz (not a full Jew), Rusty is shocked at his words, and dismayed at the ramifications they will have on such a special day.

Reeling from the repercussions, hurt, confused and surprised at the reactions of those around him, he suddenly discovers that religious intolerance is evident even within the same faith. Searching for answers, and pondering his past, Rusty decides that he is going to make the young couples celebration of their marriage in his local Reform synagogue, a night to remember, which it is, in more ways than one…

As a parent, it is easy to understand both Rusty and Rebecca’s reactions, and ways of coping to the news of Deborah’s rapid marriage, and her decision to become an Orthodox Jew. Their natural reaction is to protect her but as an adult does she need their protection?

This book highlights very clearly how hard things can be for mixed faith families at special occasions, specific times of the year, and at family celebrations, which should be happy. However it also celebrates the strength of marriage, and commitment couples should make to each other.

This book is very different to the other spy thrillers I have read by this talented author, however, I have to say it is simply a wonderful story which is uplifting, yet heart rendering at the same time, and I would highly recommend it, whatever religion you follow.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Author: 

Avraham Azrieli’s new novel, Deborah Rising (Harper Collins, 2016), portrays the dramatic (and unlikely) rise of the first woman to lead a nation in recorded human history. A graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, Azrieli tried many complex court cases before his first novel, The Masada Complex (a political thriller) was published in 2010. A full-time author since then, his other books include the Israeli spy novels The Jerusalem Inception and The Jerusalem Assassin, as well as Christmas for Joshua (a family drama dealing with interfaith conflicts), The Mormon Candidate (a political thriller), Thump (a courtroom drama featuring sexual harassment and racism) and The Bootstrap Ultimatum (a mystery involving the commercialization of Memorial Day). He also authored Your Lawyer on a Short Leash (a guide to dealing with lawyers) and One Step Ahead – A Mother of Seven Escaping Hitler’s Claws (a WWII biography, which inspired the musical By Wheel and by Wing). Azrieli grew up in Israel, where he received extensive Talmudic education, served as an intelligence officer and, after attending law school, clerked for the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. Residing primarily in the United States since 1990, he currently lives near Washington DC with his wife and children. Like Ben Teller, the protagonist in The Mormon Candidate, Azrieli often rides his motorcycle in the mountainous forests of western Maryland. To learn more, visit http://azrielibooks.com/

About the Book:  Life couldn’t be better for Rusty Dinwall–a heart surgeon, amateur pianist, and volunteer synagogue president. But when his daughter’s wedding takes an unexpected turn, life spins out of control, shattering everything he believes in. A dramatic story with memorable characters, Christmas for Joshua tackles the conflicts inherent to interfaith marriage, modern parenting, and religious intolerance, taking the reader on an entertaining and thought-provoking journey through a uniquely American Christmas experience.

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Joshua-Avraham-Azrieli/dp/14636028...

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Joshua-Interfaith-Marriage-Controv...

Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-for-joshua-avraham-azriel...

and as a NOOK Book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-for-joshua-avraham-azrie...

Kobo.com as an eBook https://www.kobo.com/fr/en/ebook/christmas-for-joshua-a-novel?open=...

iBookstore (Apple) https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/christmas-for-joshua/id965367156?m...

Books-A-Million http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Christmas-Joshua/Avraham-Azrieli/978...

Walmart  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Christmas-for-Joshua/28718231

Indiebound http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781463602888

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