Bath-sheba’s daughters

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Before my grandmother Rivka died, she asked me, “What do I call you?” I didn’t understand the question. My nickname was Shevi. Didn’t she call me Shevi? So I just shrugged. She smiled. “I call you Mamaleh (a Yiddish term of affection that means “little mother”). Do you know why I call you Mamaleh?” It was my turn to smile. “Because I’m named after your mother.” She nodded.
Bat-Sheva  At three years old she fell out of a third story window, but when she landed on the ground below, she didn’t make a sound. Her frightened father ran down the stairs and outside, where he was amazed to find her unharmed. He asked her, “How did you get down her so quickly?” She replied, “Zayde (Grandfather) carried me down the stairs.” Her grandfather had died a week earlier. Later she married a man who never slept with her, and after seven years he divorced her on the grounds that she hadn’t born him any children. Shamed and unable to find a suitable groom in Europe, she traveled to Jerusalem where she met and married Shevi’s grandfather, who had been similarly shamed when his wife left him, possible for another man.
Rivka The only child of an orthodox rabbi to survive to adulthood, Rivka’s parents doted on her. She never let anything stand in her way. When she wanted to go to school, she did, even though she had to do it behind her father’s back. And when she fell in love at age fifteen, nothing could stop her from marrying him. They exchanged love letters across a clothesline that ran between their houses. And even though tradition forbade her from seeing him before the wedding, she visited him in disguise. Rivka became the mother of three boys and four girls, among them a member of Israel’s Parliament, a distinguished professor and international lecturer, and one of Israel’s most famous rabbis.   

Tova At the age of three her grandmother Bat-Sheva grabbed her hand and pulled her away from a bus carrying the bodies of Jews injured or killed by rioters in the Old City. After a car accident at age eight almost costs her a leg, Tova met a doctor with a saw and surprising bedside manner. Eventually she became a journalist, and her job took her from Gold Meir's kitchen to America's golden gates.

Shevi Born and raised in Philadelphia, Shevi moved with her family back to Jerusalem when she was seventeen. After graduating from Hebrew University, she got a job at an orthodox-Jewish newsweekly, where she worked her way up from layout artist to editorial cartoonist and newspaper illustrator. That job thrust her in the public eye, and she was interviewed on Israeli TV, on the radio, in Israeli newspapers and magazines. She met my husband, a British television soundman, on Tu Be’Av: the Jewish holiday of romantic love. They moved to New Jersey in February, 2001 in search of a better education for our autistic son.  That August,  her mother was almost killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem, and on September 11th, her husband rushed to cover the deadly attack on the World Trade Center. 

One section of BATH-SHEBA’S DAUGHTERS was rewritten to fit the guidelines of an independent Jewish Publishing and turned into TOVA’S DREAM: a middle-grade novel loosely based on her mother’s experiences as a twelve-year-old girl living in Jerusalem during Israel’s War of Independence. That project fell through at the last minute, which is probably just as well. The story of BATH-SHEBA’S DAUGHTERS is best told in its entirety and more suitable for teens and adults than children.
Shevi is a nickname for Bat-Sheva. Shevi Arnold was named after my great-grandmother, and although she never got to meet her namesake, she’s heard many stories about her great-grandmother’s intelligence, creativity, humor and compassion. According to family legend, the name Bat-Sheva has been passed down in Shevi’s family going back 3,000 years: all the way back to the Biblical Queen Bat-Sheva (Bath-Sheba in English), wife of King David and mother of King Solomon. The Bible tells about a hot night in Jerusalem and how Bat-Sheva, in an effort to escape the heat, decided to take a bath on the roof of her house. She thought was safe from prying eyes, because the roof couldn’t be seen from anyone’s window. But what she didn’t know is that King David was also trying to escape the heat by climbing to the roof of his palace, and that once he saw her, he would do anything to have her. This might explain why Shevi has to triple check to make sure the blinds are shut on the bathroom window every time she takes a shower. 
BATH-SHEBA’S DAUGHTERS is a work of narrative nonfiction that tells the stories of her great-grandmother Bat-Sheva, her grandmother Rivka, her mother Tova, and Shevi in Jerusalem.  
This is a mockup of a possible cover. The book trailer is still a work-in-progress.