There is a lot of talk in the book about the oppression of Iran vs. the liberty of America; as it appears, liberty is in walking around with one's hair uncovered, wearing a bikini at a mixed beach, and free mixing of men and women. I had to laugh at times while I read, because so many of the freedoms that are portrayed in such a glorious way in the book, are precisely things I choose not to do, even though I could.
I cover my hair, even though no one would look twice if I didn't. I don't go to mixed beaches, even though it is perfectly legal. I embrace a multitude of "restrictions" which come with the life of an Orthodox Jewish woman, and I'm happy with my choices. I suppose this is the key word here. These are my choices. No one came and forced a head scarf on my hair, or made me stop shaking hands with men.
Another thing I found funny in the book was an idolization of romantic love as a basis for a good marriage. You know, after reading so many stories that start with sweep-me-off-my-feet romance and end with marriage, I would dearly love to know what becomes of those marriages after a few years. Oh wait, I do know: at least half of them fall apart. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in marriages based purely on calculated convenience. But I do believe there's more to compatibility in marriage than just romance.
After reading "A Veil of Roses", I asked my husband whether he would like an Orthodox Jewish regime in Israel. His reply was very wise, I think, and I couldn't define it better myself: it would be wonderful to have a government made entirely of religious Jews, as opposed to what we have today, but on an individual basis, no one should be forced to be religious. I can think of no surer way to make a religion or a way of life hated than forcing it on any and everyone.
At the bottom line, I am grateful. Grateful for living in a country where I can feel safe and accepted just being who I am; in a country where nearly anyone, as different from each other as they might be, can say the same. That's one of the great things about Israel. The society is divided and each sector views another as weird, but on the whole, each weird is somehow normal.