Cover image for To play with fire : one woman's remarkable odyssey
To play with fire : one woman's remarkable odyssey
Mordechai, Tova.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jerusalem : Urim Publications ; Brooklyn, N.Y. : Lambda Publishers, [2002]

Physical Description:
447 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
General Note:
Previously published as: Playing with fire. Brooklyn, N.Y. : BP, c1991.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM729.P7 M67 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



How does Tonica Marlow, an evangelical female minister, find her way to becoming Tova Mordechai, an Orthodox, practicing Jew? Born the daughter of an Egyptian Jewish mother and a British Protestant evangelical father, Mordechai presents the powerful real-life account of her tumultuous journey to Judaism as she grapples with Christianity and her Jewish roots.

Author Notes

Tova Mordechai resides in Safed, Israel with her husband and four children. She is the assistant to the directors at the Chaya Mushka and Machon Alte seminaries. Tova also lectures throughout the world on being Jewish in contemporary society.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This story of one woman's journey from evangelical Christianity to Orthodox Judaism is intriguing and loving. She's now Tova Mordechai, but she began as Tonica Marlow, the British daughter of a Pentecostal preacher father and an Egyptian Jewish mother (who herself had become a Christian). Raised in a strict Christian household and sent as a teenager to a theological college, Tonica wanted desperately to serve Jesus, but, even as she faithfully went to church and studied Scripture, she was dogged by questions about Judaism. As a young adult, she began to periodically attend synagogue and correspond with an Orthodox rabbi. She eventually ran away from the theological college and immersed herself in the worldwide Hasidic community, living with a Jewish family in London and studying at a Hasidic institute in Minnesota before settling down in Israel. Two features distinguish this memoir. First is Mordechai's evenhanded treatment of her Christian roots; for the most part, she paints a sympathetic picture of her childhood, neither vilifying nor caricaturing her parents' faith. Second, she does not romanticize the process of embracing a new religion, but honestly recounts the bumps on her road to Orthodoxy (such as challenging the narrow-mindedness of a rabbi who likened Jesus to Superman and other childish fantasy heroes). Readers' only complaint may be that the book could easily be 75 pages shorter. Still, Jews will enjoy following Mordechai on her journey, and seekers of other faiths will recognize in Mordechai's particularities the universal pieces of a spiritual quest. (May) Religion Notes June Publication (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved