I am so happy to read the latest blog post from an observant Jewish woman who says that I got the details of strictly observant Jewish life right in Jacob’s Folly. I was obsessive about this aspect of the book, having rabbis, scholars, and, perhaps most importantly, a real, observant, frum mother as consultants. For me, this was an alternate universe, a magic realm of sorts. Once I truly entered it, I was able to perceive the logic therein and to imagine the suffering that leaving the community would cause–as well as the impossibility, for Masha, of staying within its confines. It was so important to me not to blithely say, ‘assimilation is right, our modern way is the better way, freedom is all’. That is just as blind a way of looking at the world as a strictly religious way. Looked at from outside, any culture seems strange. Our own culture will seem absurd to people in two hundred years.