There’s nothing like a broken heart to inspire a lofty personal goal, and broken-hearted Delilah Levi aspires to becoming a rabbi’s wife. She achieves her goal only to discover that not all rebbitzins live in wealthy communities, yet all rebbitzins are expected to work alongside their husbands.
As Delilah becomes less and less enchanted with rabbinical life, she quietly, yet persistently, undermines her husband until his congregation disintegrates and she influences him to take a career-killing position in the wealthy Swallow Lake community despite its disreputable reputation within the broader Jewish community. Delilah only sees the palatial rabbi’s residence, the excesses enjoyed by the community, and her own desire to live a life of indulgence.
While the characterizations of Delilah and her Swallow Lake neighbors are grossly exaggerated, Ragen's Saturday Wife tells a first-rate tale that brings to light challenges Orthodox and Secular Jews face in reconciling their faith with contemporary American society.