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A biography of chaim potok an american jewish rabbi

In an interview Potok said, "I prayed in a little shtiebel [prayer room], and my mother is a descendant of a great Hasidic dynasty and my father was a Hasid, so I come from that world.

Chaim Potok

Riveted by the world of upper-class British Catholics that Waugh brings to life in the novel, Potok realized for the first time that fiction had the power "to create worlds out of words on paper. Over a period of five years, he spent most of his free time reading the novels of great writers.

  • Potok followed The Chosen with a sequel two years later called The Promise;
  • Asher decides to continue as a painter and it disturbs his family, but Potok eventually decided to be an author and painted in his free time;
  • We must make our own Messiah' We must rebuild American Jewry;
  • The popular book was praised for its vivid rendering of the closed Hasidic community; some thought it an allegory of the survival of Judaism;
  • Some Jews say we should wait for God to send the Messiah;
  • He and his wife, Adena Sarah Mosevitzky, lived in Jerusalem for three years in the 1970s, before settling in Marion, Pennsylvania.

At the same time, he became fascinated by less restrictive Jewish doctrines, particularly the Conservative movement. He attended Yeshiva University and graduated summa cum laude in English literature in 1950 before moving on to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he was ordained a Conservative rabbi.

Potok served as combat chaplain with the United States Army in Korea from 1955 to 1957. He then taught at several Jewish colleges, including the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, before moving on to become the managing editor of Conservative Judaism in 1964.

After spending a year in Israel working on his doctoral dissertation, Potok earned a Ph. He remained in that position for eight years before becoming a special-projects editor of the publication in 1974.

Throughout his career in publishing, Dr.

  1. Potok followed The Chosen with a sequel two years later called The Promise.
  2. So far this critical essay has been mainly, though not exclusively, concerned with Potok's world in terms of subject-matter.
  3. Potok is a self-taught painter, who since the late sixties has produced a considerable number of idiosyncratic paintings.

Potok wrote numerous popular articles and reviews. Potok began his career as an author and novelist in 1967 with the publication of The Chosenwhich stands as the first book from a major publisher to portray Orthodox Judaism in the United States.

With its story about the friendship between the son of a Hasidic rabbi and a more secularly-minded Jewish boy in Brooklyn, The Chosen established Potok's reputation. Critics praised the book for its vivid rendering of the closed Hasidic community, while many considered it to be an allegory about the survival of Judaism.

  • Potok again turned to the Hasidim in My Name Is Asher Lev 1972 , which tells of a young artist in conflict with the traditions of his family and community;
  • After receiving a master's degree in Hebrew literature, and his later rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1954, Potok joined the U;
  • Potok also published several non-fiction works, including Wanderings;
  • After demobilisation, Potok taught at Jewish academic establishments in Los Angeles and Philadelphia until the mid-1960s, when he took a PhD in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Potok followed The Chosen with a sequel two years later called The Promise. He returned to the subject of Hasidism for a third time with the 1972 novel My Name is Asher Levthe story of a young artist and his conflict with the traditions of his family and community. Potok followed this novel with a sequel, as well, publishing The Gift of Asher Lev eighteen years later in 1990.

Potok continued to examine the conflict between secular and religious interests in his other novels as well, which include In the Beginning in 1975, The Book of Lights in 1981, and Davita's Harp in 1985.

Potok also published several non-fiction works, including Wanderings: History of the Jews 1978in which the author combines impressive scholarship with dramatic narrative, and The Gates of Novembera 1996 chronicle of a Jewish family in the Soviet Union. Potok served as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania in both the 1980s and 1990s, and taught briefly at Bryn Mawr College and Johns Hopkins University.

He was a passionate lover of Israeland lived there for several years.

  1. It also became a short-lived Off-Broadway musical and was adapted subsequently as a stage play by Aaron Posner in collaboration with Potok, which premiered at the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia in 1999.
  2. Many of his novels are set in the urban environments in New York in which he himself grew up. Agnon as his chief literary influences.
  3. From the sequel, The Gift of Asher Lev, published eighteen years later, we learn how deeply this core-to-core cultural conflict has struck, extending as far as the next generation of children and grandchildren.
  4. With Davita's Harp the first female character and narrator appeared in the shape of a very young girl, llana Davita Chandal, who grows up in New York City in the 1930s and early 1940s.
  5. In fact, there is only one novel without a Jewish setting, a bleak portrayal of uneducated Korean war refugees, entitled I Am The Clay 1992.

Potok was also very active in the Soviet Jewry movement. Chaim Potok died July 23, 2002, at his suburban Philadelphia home of brain cancer at the age of 73.

  • Potok's characters, situations and symbols or associations are thoroughly archetypal or universal; they draw on the collective experience of the entire human species, and are therefore basically relevant to all cultures;
  • In The Book of Lights the cultural confrontation is enacted on a more global scale:

He is survived by his wife, Adena; two daughters, Rena, a Philadelphia-area college professor, and Naama, an actor in New York; a son, Akiva, who is a filmmaker in California; and two grandchildren.

Class Zone ; Ephross, Peter.