I need to get back to reading - I stopped at page 261 - but here a few thoughts on some of the questions from the second set:
25. Will all humans someday be blended, like Raz (p. 141)? Is this the direction humanity is going?
As the mother of three bi-racial children, I am in favor of "blending." I think that some of the prejudices and divisions in our society can be overcome this way, as we come to better recognize our common humanity as well as continue to celebrate our diversity.
26. Delilah Sharansky, the Jewish woman introduced on page 202, died in the accident that hospitalized Hanna's mother. Why do you think Sarah Heath never told Hanna about Delilah or her son, the artist Aaron Sharansky? Hanna is very hurt by this lack of knowledge: "It was going to take me more than one night to catch up with thirty years of missing information. Missing love. ... in the end, she'd made all the decisions, and I'd paid for them" (p. 213). And again, "Why hadn't she told me?" (p. 261).
While Hanna's mother isn't a particularly sympathetic character, I would like to think that she thought that she was doing the right thing by keeping this secret - perhaps believing that Hanna was better off not knowing about this part of her family so she wouldn't be hurt by the possibility of losing them (like Hanna's mother had lost Aaron).
27. What did you think of the story of Ruti, daughter of David Ben Shoushan and his wife Miriam? Ruti was enthralled by the text, the words, the meaning of the words. Ruti understood the text, "They will build me a temple and I will dwell in them," to mean, "In them, not in it. [God] would dwell within her. She would be the house of God. The house of transcendence" (p. 234).
Ruti's story reminded me a bit of Yentl. I was almost going to say that I've liked Ruti's story the best of the background stories so far - but then I had to change my mind because I really liked Lola's too. They are both such strong young women.