The Vaneman family are a set of main and support characters in Alouette's Song and Alouette's Dream:
Young Orthodox Jewish young lady, 19 years old at time of Alouette's Song, 35 years old at time of Alouette's Dream. Violin prodigy, also talented in voice, trained in both from age 10. Homeschooled by the best private tutors her father's money can buy. As well as being a dedicated student of the violin, she also is concertmaster (first violin) at the Amarillo Texas Philharmonic, and a travelling teacher across the country for childrens' clinics.
Dorothy possesses unearthly physical beauty, and this has often posed her a problem in both public and private life. She also has trouble controlling her temper, fortunately, the only targets of it have ever been villains of one type or another. Along with those attributes she has an unyielding faith in the Creator and is deeply religious.
The psychological trauma of a nearly-fatal encounter with a subway train unlocks her inner abilities with the violin, transforming her from virtuoso to master. Her grandfather decides it is time to give Dotty her heritage, a priceless violin, a Guarneri del Gesu, that only been played inside synagogue of the small village of Boyberik in the Ukraine. Her grandfather had been made its trustee until such time as a suitable heir could be found who could use the instrument. The semi-divine power of the Boyberik Guarneri amplified Dotty's abilities even further, to world-class levels, giving Dotty the confidence needed to begin a career as a musical superstar.
Has an on-and-off, stormy relationship with the young man who rescued her in the subway incident, until she rescues him back during the retaking of the starship Alouette from malign hands. That pair along with others saves an entire race of near-humans on a world located on the other side of the galaxy. Dotty returns to Earth along with her love, marries him, and then after relocating to an island granted them by the grateful locals, conceives a child by him.
Born and raised in by Southern Baptist parents in Amarillo, Texas, from a long line of Texan cattlemen. While returning from college after Spring Break, he has a chance meeting at an airport with Jacob Ostfeld, a rabbi from Manhattan. The two are waiting to board the same plane, and to pass the time share a conversation. James is fascinated to learn the Jacob represents a people for whom the faith of the "Old Testament" is a living one. After Jacob learns James is from a family of ranchers, he asks permission to meet with James' family as he has a possibly lucrative business proposition for them.
Jacob is wanting to expand the kosher butcher shop chain located in New York, but to do so needs a steady and reliable source of correctly slaughtered (shecheted) beef carcasses. These would command a far higher price than ordinary prices since observant Jews require beef taken and cut in the correct manner, and some of those proceeds would certainly pass down to Jame's family.
They agree to create an experimental division of the current Vaneman meat-packing business. Jacob returns from New York, bringing with him a shochet (kosher butcher) to supervise operations, and his own daughter Rebecca as the new division's book-keeper.
Born in Manhattan to Modern Orthodox Jewish parents, her father Jacob Ostfeld is a rabbi. Since her father has modernist leanings, Rebecca is allowed to attend public school and seek higher education. After graduating college she works part time as a book-keeper. Her father becomes one of her clients when he creates a business venture to supplement his family's income by providing properly slaughtered beef to a chain of meat markets in New York City. Falls in love with James Vaneman, the son of a ranch owner, and uses Texan common-law marriage to evade her father's threat to disown her if she marries him. Common-law marriage involves no ceremony, just the simple act of living together, which would not be recognized by many Jewish people as defacto conversion to another religion by intermarriage. This is still recognized as marriage, however: "The law of the land is our law." Her father realizes his daughter successfully checkmated him, and decides to retain ties with his daughter.
Most of Jacob's family hails from a village in the Ukraine called Boyberik. The village is famous for having a synagogue where violin music had once been played for generations. Jacob escapes the Iron Curtain in the 1950's with those few of the other villages who survived the Holocaust, and is named the eventual custodian of said violin. His task is to seek a suitable heir for it, preferably one of his descendants, and preferably someone who can also play it.
Jacob is fascinated with the possibilities of engaging with the free society which America is becoming toward Jews, and so develops modernist leanings. This is quietly opposed by many of his contacts in the surrounding Chassidic communities. When he refuses to disown his daughter for marrying out, on the premise she hasn't even married at all, that's the last straw for his congregation. They vote with their feet to join stricter communities, especially the Satmar in New York.
James and Rebecca become very quickly fascinated with each other, then fall in love, and then announce their desire to marry.
Jacob not only refuses his daughter permission, he promises to disown his daughter if she undergoes any ceremony to marry. A section of Texan law defines one alternative of legal marriage as being the simple act of living together as husband and wife, even without benefit of ceremony, and Rebecca is exploit that as gaining the ability to marry her love without alienating her father. Jacob grudging admires her cleverness and keeps his word to keep her as his daughter.
James' parents are far less accepting. They don't see James' evasion of a church wedding as at all acceptable, and they are actually as enthusiastic about the prospect of intermarriage as Jacob is, which is not at all. When Dorothy is born, his parents disown him for having a child out of wedlock, and expel him from their land. Jacob immediately swings into action. He buys a parcel of land and establishes a slaughterhouse there. James soon establishes his own herd, and because of demand from consumers of kosher beef in New York his operation grows exponentially. James sees his good fortune as being a sign of God's blessing on the marriage, and therefore makes no effort to convert his daughter to Christianity. Instead, he becomes a Jew in all but name, looking toward Rebecca and James for guidance in how to be a supportive father in their faith.