Talking Like That
Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism
by Sarah Bunin Benor
Rutgers University Press, 288 pp., $27.95
In Becoming Frum, linguist Sarah Bunin Benor quotes a 9-year-old Orthodox child saying of ba’alei teshuvah (Jews who have adopted traditional halakhic observance as adults), “Their voice sounds weird, like not a Jewish voice.” We assume that by “voice,” the child refers to language rather than vocal timbre, and Benor examines the journey that “BTs” make from evoking judgments of that kind from Orthodox children to comfortably using the words and expressions that constitute Orthodox Jewish English.