In the Beginning

David Lurie learns that all beginnings are hard He must fight for his place against the bullies in his Depression shadowed Bronx neighborhood and his own frail health As a young man, he must start anew and define his own path of personal belief that diverges sharply with his devout father and everything he has been taught
In the Beginning David Lurie learns that all beginnings are hard He must fight for his place against the bullies in his Depression shadowed Bronx neighborhood and his own frail health As a young man he must start ane

  • Title: In the Beginning
  • Author: Chaim Potok
  • ISBN: 9780449001134
  • Page: 330
  • Format: Paperback
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      Published :2018-05-01T22:20:53+00:00

    About the Author

    Chaim Potok

    Herman Harold Potok, or Chaim Tzvi, was born in Buffalo, New York, to Polish immigrants He received an Orthodox Jewish education After reading Evelyn Waugh s novel Brideshead Revisited as a teenager, he decided to become a writer He started writing fiction at the age of 16 At age 17 he made his first submission to the magazine The Atlantic Monthly Although it wasn t published, he received a note from the editor complimenting his work.In 1949, at the age of 20, his stories were published in the literary magazine of Yeshiva University, which he also helped edit In 1950, Potok graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English Literature.After four years of study at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America he was ordained as a Conservative rabbi He was appointed director of Leaders Training Fellowship, a youth organization affiliated with Conservative Judaism.After receiving a master s degree in English literature, Potok enlisted with the U.S Army as a chaplain He served in South Korea from 1955 to 1957 He described his time in S Korea as a transformative experience Brought up to believe that the Jewish people were central to history and God s plans, he experienced a region where there were almost no Jews and no anti Semitism, yet whose religious believers prayed with the same fervor that he saw in Orthodox synagogues at home.Upon his return, he joined the faculty of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and became the director of a Conservative Jewish summer camp affiliated with the Conservative movement, Camp Ramah A year later he began his graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and was appointed scholar in residence at Temple Har Zion in Philadelphia.In 1963, he spent a year in Israel, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Solomon Maimon and began to write a novel.In 1964 Potok moved to Brooklyn He became the managing editor of the magazine Conservative Judaism and joined the faculty of the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary The following year, he was appointed editor in chief of the Jewish Publication Society in Philadelphia and later, chairman of the publication committee Potok received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.In 1970, Potok relocated to Jerusalem with his family He returned to Philadelphia in 1977 After the publication of Old Men at Midnight, he was diagnosed with brain cancer He died at his home in Merion, Pennsylvania on July 23, 2002, aged 73.

    255 Comment

    • Meredith said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Potok’s coming-of-age books are always so cerebral and inspiring. The protagonists are always truly analytical types: totally focused, with searing intellectualism. The characters have such dedication and depth. This story spans two continents and many centuries, and the small, localized hatreds suffered by a young Jewish boy in 1930s NYC are no less real than the grand scale hatreds suffered by his people through the ages.

    • Lynn Joshua said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      A superbly written story of a exceptionally intelligent young Jewish boy, David, his family, and their struggle to establish their lives in the United States, and to aid other Jewish families who wish to leave Poland and settle in New York. The family thrives in the US in the prosperous 1920's, though the school-age David is bullied by anti-Semitic local boys, and he is haunted by whispered secrets of his father's past as a militant activist among Jews in the "old country." We follow this family [...]

    • Katy said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Wonderful writing, at times a stream of semi-consciousness or dreaming.

    • Cyndi said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      I love Chaim Potok and this isn't my favorite novel by him but it takes us into the life of a young boy growing up in New York. His mother had been married to a man named David but he died. She married David's brother and had two boys, David and Alex. David is sickly and studious while Alex is strong and a bit wild. David loves the Torah and his Jewish culture. He excels at school but lives in 1930, a time filled with anti-semitism. His father is a leader of the Jewish community who fled with hi [...]

    • Isaiah Kallman said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      "All beginnings are hard" Potok had a gift for communicating the significance of familial and cultural relationships. Seemingly normal interactions have life-long consequences for his characters. You feel the pain of a mocking look or a bigoted sneer. You bond with the warmth of the common American sidewalk. A mother's song, a father's beard. Potok never puts you through too much emotional strain without giving you enough hope and courage to get to the next chapter.

    • Margaret said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      I don't know how to rate this book. I thought it was brilliant but I really don't know that I like a style of writing that has 100 pages of a little kid riding a tricycle between illnesses and lamenting the evils of antisemitism in his own childish way. It portrayed brilliantly many Jewish issues and was cleverly crafted to weave them into the everyday details of the "normal" life of a completely abnormal family. The heartrending foreknowledge that their family in Poland was going to be destroye [...]

    • SirJo said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      uno dei migliori romanzi di Potok, considerato come romanzo di formazione lo trovo ottimo. E questa è la sua formazione

    • Joyce Lagow said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Young David Lurie s life is dominated by accidents in which he is both an unwitting participant and helpless victim. When bringing him home from the hospital, him mother tripped on the front steps to their apartment and fell, with the infant David in her arms; the left side of his face and his nose hit the pavement. A doctor s examination showed nothing wrong, but unseen was damage to the nasal septum; as a result of this accident, David spent his childhood constantly ill, and grew up fragile. T [...]

    • Shawn said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      In The Beginning is quite different in style than Potok’s earlier novels. The story is told through -somewhat non-sequential flashbacks. We see a lot of David as a young boy, but then it moves quickly through his adolescent years. He is brilliant, bookish, and intellectually rebellious—though in a quiet and confident way. It shifts back and forth from great narrative and descriptive detail to more emotional impressions. It is a lot in David’s head – sometimes when he sick with fever or l [...]

    • Shannon said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      It was ok, but not great.The Chosen was a much better book.I felt bogged down a lot of the time by lengthy descriptions of everything the Am Kedoshim society said and did, and I didn't understand much of it, as I'm not Jewish. I felt as though it did nothing to move the plot along.I also fee that many of the characters were rather flat and static. Even though they all grow up over the course of the story, I feel that their essential personalities don't really change all that much. I suppose Davi [...]

    • Melissa said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Stunning, as Potok always is, though more slowly paced and deliberate than others that I've read. The final pages resonate deeply with current issues in Mormonism regarding history, truth, and faith.At the risk of draining the power of this quote without the context of the 430 pages preceding it, here is one of my favorite moments: "I am not bothered by questions of truth. I want to know if the religious world view has any meaning today. Bring yourself back an answer to that, Lurie. Take apart t [...]

    • Ken said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      I love Potok's writing. I felt that I missed something in this book, and the story did not propel me forward in the way his other books I've read did. Towards the end, the plot becomes very involved in Jewish scholarship of the Torah and Talmud, to the point that as a non-Jewish reader I felt that I was surely missing a little of what was going on. David Lurie is a sickly boy who reads all the time and is constantly troubled by exactly WHY goyim seem to hate Jews so much. His studies as he grows [...]

    • Alison Smith said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed 'Asher Lev'. Another novel about a sickly young boy growing up in New York,in an orthodox Jewish community. Overall, haunted by history, haunted by the past.

    • Inge said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      This was wonderful - I am starting to think that everything Chaim Potok writes is magically beautiful.

    • Lorri said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      This is my second reading of this book. I read it a few years ago. I am currently reading it for a book club.

    • Ethan Benally said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      In the Beginning by Chaim Potok This historical novel takes place in 1930’s Bronx, New York. It is a story of a young Jewish boy, David Lurie, and his parents along with a whole Jewish society. David Lurie is the narrator throughout the entirety of this historical novel. I found this book by chance in my school’s library to get credit for an assignment. The novel starts with David Lurie who has “hard beginnings” in life because of a variety of religious persecutions in his local neighbor [...]

    • R. G. Nairam said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      I don't understand. I love /The Chosen/. I really liked /The Promise/. It's been ages since I read /Asher Lev/ but I'm pretty sure I liked that one too. From the beginning (ha) in this book, I was about bored to tears and the boredom hardly every let up. In /theory/ this book should have a lot going for it--David's parents and their predicament was technically quite fascinating, the moments of depression in various characters were realistically drawn, and the whole idea of him (view spoiler)[mov [...]

    • Emily Brown said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Fascinating look at the Depression and beginnings of WWII as a young Jewish boy. Parallels abound between Europe's war and his life. I learned a lot about the Torah and its interpretations by other Jewish scholars. Interestingly, some of the Jewish people in this have a similar xenphobia that anti-Semites themselves had, which is a profound statement on humans in general: we all have fears and anger, but we must look past these to embrace the fact that we are all still people who deserve life, l [...]

    • Jayme said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      3.75 stars. A very powerful ending to a good novel. Having recently read Potok's "The Promise" the themes in here are very similar: how to honor the past of Judaism while looking at it's future. Potok excels at putting you through the experiences of his protagonists--and real history--in a way that leaves one feeling bruised.

    • Adrienne said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Beautifully written. I hardly noticed that anything was happening but suddenly everything was different and I felt like I knew the characters intimately. A different angle on being Jewish during WWII, and interesting to watch David grow into his own person.

    • Michael said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      I couldn't get through it. I like Chaim Potok, but this book was simply too dry and slow. There did not seem to be much of a plot. I'm marking it as read and that I finished it today, but today is just the day I've decided I'm done trying to force my way through it.

    • Karen said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      This was pretty slow reading. Not sure it was up to the level of his other books.

    • Anne said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Another masterpiece. I love his writing. Some of the best I have read each year

    • Lavina Kauffman said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Chaim Potok never disappoints Just like The Chosen, this book is an intricate detailed account of the daily life and emotions of a young Jewish boy. I enjoyed this thoroughly!

    • Sandra Estrada said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Really great! Made me think about Biblical Criticism.

    • Katie said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      It took me a while to get into this book, but I ended up loving the way Potok shifted the perspective over the course of the story. The ending made me cry because it rang so true.

    • Yehuda said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      This wasn't nearly as good as The Chosen or My Name is Asher Lev, but this was pretty good. It was bulky at times though, and could've used an editor. It really gives you a sense of how it felt to be an Orthodox Jew in the 1920's and 30's. One thing I was really able to relate to was the end where it spoke about the yeshiva he was in and Rav Scharfman. He describes a yeshiva that I currently attend and that Potok himself attends, Yeshiva University. It was really cool how YU is portrayed in the [...]

    • Mike said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Potok seems to take a long time to get to the end of this book; some judicious cutting would have helped, I think, but he weaves and connects themes and images constantly throughout the story, and perhaps without the space to do so the book wouldn't have been so effective. It's a pretty gloomy piece: the Jewish narrator, Daniel, is injured in a fall as a baby and damages something in his nasal area, meaning that he is prone to illnesses throughout his childhood. The operation to cure this only h [...]

    • Christine Keegan said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Epic.

    • Jasonlylescampbell said:
      Aug 21, 2018 - 22:20 PM

      Chaim Potok is one of my favorite writers. We had to read the Chosen when I was a sophomore in college and I was really struck by him then. I went on to read the Promise and then My Name is Asher Lev. This year I went back to him and re-read those three and this morning I finished his fourth novel: In The Beginning. His novels deal with racism, religion, family relationships, and the modern age. In the beginning is a professor David Lurie telling the story of his beginning, growing up in Brookly [...]

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