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by Sara N. S. Meirowitz

Boston to Jerusalem and Back

Sisters take on the town

“The first time I saw Dad after he was born again was in Jerusalem, where Susan and I went to bring him home.” So begins Risa Miller’s light and fast-paced second novel, My Before and After Life (St. Martin’s, $24.99), where issues of family ties and fervent religiousness come together in the streets of Jerusalem and suburban Boston. Our narrator, Honey, is a lawyer living in the very Jewish suburb of Brookline, litigating against an Orthodox school’s expansion in the neighborhood; her sister Susan owns a local seafood restaurant. Into the lives of these two stereotypically secular sisters comes the revelation: their widowed and remarried father has become a “born again” religious Jew, as they describe him, and has moved to Jerusalem.

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