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Portuguese Inquisition

Multiple Themes for Rabbi’s Scribe In “The Weight Of Ink”

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The Weight Of Ink (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Rachel Kadish tells the story of Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who becomes a scribe for a blind rabbi in London in the 1600s right before the plague.  At the same time we learn about Helen Watt, a close-to-retiring British historian working on translations of some 17th century documents signed by scribe “Aleph.” Even though these women lived in different centuries, both were strong and determined to pursue their interests, fought to be heard, and chose a life to satisfy their minds with sacrifice of the heart. Ester is a product of the Portuguese Inquisition, and although displaced with little family, she feels at home with her job as a scribe for…

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