Journal #10: Respond to this painting, how does it make you feel?
Who is Chaim Potok? "I grew up...in a Hassidic world without the beard and the earlocks." (NY Times 1/3/88)
Biography -Born: February 17, 1929 in New York City, N.Y. -Parents: Benjamin Max (d. 1958) and Mollie (Friedman) Potok (d.1985). Father emmigrated from Poland to the U.S. in 1921 and sold stationery before the depression and was a jeweler afterward. -Siblings: Brother became a rabbi, both sisters married rabbis. -Married a psychologist and social worker and had three kids
Education -At the early age of ten he showed talent in drawing and painting but was dissuaded by his father and Talmudic teachers from pursuing this interest. -Instead, he undertook a serious religious and secular education, first at the Orthodox Yeshiva University, New York, where he received a BA in English 1950; then at the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, where he received his rabbinic ordination in 1954; and finally at the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained a PhD in 1965.
A changing point... Potok served as a chaplain during the Korean War and got the opportunity to "as a result of that moment in time when I stood in Hiroshima, trying to figure out where I was and what I was doing there, and what it all really meant to me." -Chaim Potok
Novels Jewish Ethics, 1964-69, 14 volumes The Chosen, 1967 The Promise, 1969 My Name is Asher Lev, 1972 In the Beginning, 1975 The Jew Confronts Himself in American Literature, 1975 Wanderings: Chaim Potok's History of the Jews, 1978 The Book of Lights, 1981 Davita's Harp, 1985Davita's Harp Theo Tobiasse, 1986 The Gift of Asher Lev, 1990 I Am the Clay, 1992 The Tree of Here, 1993 The Sky of Now, 1994 The Gates of November, 1996 Zebra and Other Stories, 1998 Isaac Stern: My First 79 Years (with Isaac Stern), 1999 Old Men at Midnight, 2001 Conversations with Chaim Potok (edited by Daniel Walden), 2001
An Interview with Chaim Potok http://odeo.com/episodes/23138567- What-makes-author-Chaim-Potok-tick
Common Themes -the pursuit of truth in a gray world -the strength of friendship -the importance of father-son relationships -struggle between the secular and religious world -weak women and children -strong father figures -intellectual characters -the strength and validity of faith in a modern secular world
Core-to-Core Chaim Potok often says that he writes about "core-to-core" themes. What do you think that means? http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=d49dmrg_412wq7dpdf http://www.wiredforbooks.org/mp3/ChaimPotok1985.mp3 http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=d49dmrg_412wq7dpdf http://www.wiredforbooks.org/mp3/ChaimPotok1985.mp3
Compare and Contrast: George Orwell "Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act." Chaim Potok "Every man who has shown the world the way to beauty, to true culture, has been a rebel, a 'universal' without patriotism, without home, who has found his people everywhere."
Chaim Potok “I advocate nothing in my fiction: I look, I absorb. I gaze into my own mirror, I write. That is all I know to do on earth, and all I want to know.”