Born in 1929, Chaim Potok grew up and was educated in New York. After being ordained as a rabbi, he took a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a chaplain with the US Forces in Korea from 1955-1957. He died in 2002. His novels The Chosen, The Promise, In the Beginning, The Book of Lights, My Name is Asher Lev, The Gift of Asher Lev and I am The Clay, have all been published by Penguin. He is also the author of Wanderings, a history of the Jews; of a children's book, The Tree of Here; and of three plays, Out of the Depths, Sins of the Father and The Play of Lights.
Gr 7 Up-The Jewish enclaves of Brooklyn form the backdrop for Chaim Potok's classic novel (Fawcett, 1995). It begins just before D-Day and traces the unlikely friendship of two Jewish teens as they watch World War II draw to a close, and the new state of Israel emerge. Though Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders are both the sons of Jewish scholars and synagogue leaders, the religious differences that divide their lives become open hostilities when they meet on the softball field. That changes when Danny's line drive almost blinds Reuven, and the apologetic Hasidic boy visits the injured Orthodox youth in the hospital. Despite Danny's strictly proscribed lifestyle, the boys find a common bond through their study of sacred writings in the Talmud. At the same time, Danny's exceptional intellect drives him to learn more about the world outside his close community. The story revolves around the evolving, and sometimes painful, relationships between these boys and their fathers, and the conflicts the two young men must face as they come of age. Jonathan Davis narrates with a gentle touch that warmly conveys the book's serious, and occasionally playful, text. The somber-looking boy on the cover signals that this is a thought-provoking story, and the case, cassettes, and sound quality are all solidly well done. For those familiar with the diverse world of Judaism, this recording will be a reunion. Those who are new to some of the terms and practices may need a bit of explanation. Everyone will recognize the human struggles that accompany all journeys into adulthood, making The Chosen an excellent choice for all public and school libraries.-Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.