When Your Family Says No: The Journey To Freedom, Independence And Happiness
what being Jewish is all about in many of its facets. Laya, as a child was named Rita, and when not entirely of age Rita changed her name to Laya. She was taught that Jewish girls went to school to learn what is necessary but also it seems to find a husband and follow the rules of being a female. Laya Martin shares her story of being a part of a Jewish family along with all the traditions and rules of this religion. Laya offers a pictorial view of her memoir at the end of the book along with a glossary of critical Jewish terms that they have to learn. This novel could be used in a Social work/counseling course or group to teach about the diversity of this religion and family structures. The cover picture of Laya with some of the faded images behind her makes this novel a fascinating story of being accepted one way or another. It is also a story of being understood and understanding.What does family mean? Laya Martin has written a memoir that depicts what living in an Orthodox Jewish home is like. Laya describes her childhood, her teenage years, and her adulthood with all the various ideas of
Set during the Vietnam era through the present day and relatable across religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, When Your Family Says No is a memoir about choice, the complexity of family love, and how desire does not stop because of the confines of rigid rabbinical rules. Laya’s marriage was not a protest or rebellion against my family or my Orthodoxy. The author didn’t plan on falling in love; it simply happened. She wanted to be with the man she loved and also stay within the confines of her family. But behind the lush lawns and beautiful brick facades in which she was raised lay a prejudice and conditional love that was both shocking and tragic.
The book is for anyone who has fallen in love, strayed from their family’s rules of conduct, or needed to break out; it’s for Muslims who do or don’t want to wear the headscarf, gays raised in a born-again culture, teenagers just starting to have doubt and mid-lifers who are about to make a change from a culture that presupposes their identity. It’s for anyone who chooses love over tradition.
The highly personal narrative mixed with historical insight gives readers a glimpse into the secreted world of Orthodoxy where everything from how a girl puts on her socks in the morning to the prayer she recites after using the bathroom, to when her husband makes love to her, is determined by rabbinic law. And yet its content is universal. Who among us hasn’t read illicit material? Attended a forbidden film? Held secrets? Been alienated? Dreamed of breaking away? How many are still following their community’s beliefs with the insistent feeling that something inside them might be dying? When Your Family Says No explores the terror and self-determination that come from breaking taboos and tradition and finding the strength we need to discover God and a family of our own that finally says yes.
About the Author
Laya has three grown children and works in the Philadelphia suburbs where she resides with her second husband. As a two-time president of her local Rotary Club and a Paul Harris fellow, she regularly engages in international community service projects. When not writing, speaking, or spending time with her grandchildren, she travels extensively throughout the world.