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Chaim Potok. Journal #10: Respond to this painting, how does it make you feel?

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Presentation on theme: "Chaim Potok. Journal #10: Respond to this painting, how does it make you feel?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Chaim Potok

2 Journal #10: Respond to this painting, how does it make you feel?

3 Who is Chaim Potok? "I grew up...in a Hassidic world without the beard and the earlocks." (NY Times 1/3/88)

4 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

5 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.

6 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

7 Novels Jewish Ethics, , 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

8 An Interview with Chaim Potok What-makes-author-Chaim-Potok-tick

9 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

10 Core-to-Core Chaim Potok often says that he writes about "core-to-core" themes. What do you think that means?

11 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."

12 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.”


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