Chaim Potok is much, much smarter than me.
What else can you say about a man who started seriously writing at age 16, published and edited his college yearbook and graduated summa cum laude in English literature? This same man went on to be ordained as a rabbi, traveled with the U.S. army as a chaplain in South Korea, served on faculty at the University of Judaism, and worked on translating the Hebrew Bible into English. And those are just a few of his accomplishments!
Potok wrote a number of novels, plays and academic works. The Chosen is actually his first novel and was published in 1967. It was nominated for the National Book Award, which is one of the most prestigious awards in American literature. It was made into a film released in 1981, which won the top award at the World Film Festival in Montreal, and Chaim made a cameo appearance as a professor in the film.
Through Potok’s work, we get a glimpse of what life was and in some ways is still like for Orthodox Jews. But his work also speaks about relationships and friendships, which are things we all can relate to.
I think that is why we can learn so much from reading, especially quality, worthwhile books. Hopefully as we read books by those who are smarter than us, we can learn more from them and maybe discover things about ourselves that we might not have known before. And hopefully Chaim Potok’s The Chosen will help us do just that!
So even though Chaim Potok is much, much smarter than me, I’m OK with that.
I hope you are enjoying The Chosen and can come to Border’s on February 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss it with us. It’s been a cold, dreary, snowy February so far, so some hot coffee or tea, a night out, and great book are sure to help beat the winter blues!