Judah, Sophie 1949-
Judah, Sophie 1949-
Born 1949, in Jabalpur, India; immigrated to Israel, 1973; married March 19, 1972; children: five. Religion: Jewish.
Home—Hod Hasharom, Israel.
Dropped from Heaven: Stories, Schocken Books (New York, NY), 2007.
The nineteen pieces in Sophie Judah's debut collection, Dropped from Heaven: Stories, are inspired by her experiences growing up as a member of the Bene Israel, a tiny Jewish community in central India. Though Jews have been present in India for centuries, their numbers are very small and Judah's family, which moved often because of her father's position as an army officer, was often the only Jewish family in town. This background, according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, provides Judah with rich material for fiction. Her stories touch on several major themes, including the India-Pakistan partition, the roles of women, and migration to Israel. Ellen Loughran, writing in Booklist, admired Judah's "fascinating" depiction of a minority community shaped by religious difference. Library Journal reviewer Leora Bersohn also enjoyed Dropped from Heaven's unique perspective, adding that, though its prose is plain and simple, the book is filled with "deep sympathy and humanity." In a starred review, a contributor to Kirkus Reviews praised the book's blend of family myth with sociological and psychological observation, deeming the volume a "fascinating mix of the exotic and the familiar." Indeed, it is this very sense of life that inspired Judah to write. As she explained to Nextbook.org writer Amy Rosenberg, what little she was able to find when she researched the Bene Israel "was all anthropology. They're looking at you through a microscope: ‘Are you Jewish, aren't you Jewish; this tradition, that tradition.’ And then the history. But there was no humanity, the human touch was missing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2007, Ellen Loughran, review of Dropped from Heaven: Stories, p. 35.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of Dropped from Heaven, p. 44.
Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Leora Bersohn, review of Dropped from Heaven, p. 102.
Publishers Weekly, January 1, 2007, review of Dropped from Heaven, p. 33.
Nextbook.org,http://www.nextbook.org/ (May 21, 2007), Amy Rosenberg, "Out of India: Sophie Judah's Stories Chronicle a Vanishing Tribe."