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The Chosen

The Chosen tells the story of a friendship between two Jewish boys growing up in Brooklyn at the end of World War II. Reuven Malter, the narrator, is an Orthodox Jew. Danny Saunders, the other protagonist, is a Hasid. Hasidic Jews are the most conservative members of the Orthodox branch of Judaism. Chaim Potok, an American rabbi and scholar, was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in 1929. Potok takes you on a journey as these two boys come of age and become friends. The outside world groups Reuven and Danny together due to their shared religion; but in reality, they are quite different. The Chosen highlights the tensions between Jewish tradition and modern American life. Potok explores this theme by writing about the ways in which Reuven and Danny's Jewish communities attempt to strike a balance between tradition and modernity. The Chosen traces the intellectual, moral, and psychological growth of Reuven and Danny; they develop along parallel lines due to their strong friendship. What I really liked about this novel is the fact that it immerses its readers in the time period effortlessly. World War II is ending and stories of the Holocaust are just beginning to emerge on the shores of America. The impact that this monumental loss of life has on the American Jewish population varies from community to community and Reuven and Danny's fathers react very differently. Which is interesting to me, growing up where it seems like American Jews are united in their basic perspectives on the Holocaust and Israel. This novel is profound and very well written. I highly recommend reading it. Rating: ★★★★★

Midnight's Children

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