Chaim Potok original name as Herman Chaim Potok was an American author and american rabbi whose novels introducted to American fiction the spiritual and cultural life of Orthodox Jews. His first book The Chosen (1967), was listed on The New York Times’ best seller list for 39 weeks and sold more than 3,400,000 copies. He was born on 17 February 1929 in New York to Benjamin Max (died 1958) and Mollie (née Friedman) Potok (died 1985), he was son of Polish immigrants, Potok was reared in an Orthodox home and attended religious schools. As a young man, he was drawn to the less restrictive Conservative doctrine; after graduation from Yeshiva University in 1950 and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1954 (both in New York City), he was ordained a Conservative rabbi. He taught at Jewish institutions of higher learning until he was named managing editor of Conservative Judaism in 1964. He later attended the University of Pennsylvania and in 1965 became editor in chief of the Jewish Publication Society of America, a post he held until 1974, when he became special-projects editor. Throughout his publishing career Potok wrote scholarly and popular articles and reviews.
Potok’s first novel was The Chosen (1967; film, 1981). It was the first book from a major publisher to portray Orthodox Judaism in the United States. The author established his reputation with this story of a Hasidic rabbi’s son and the son’s friend, whose humane Orthodox father encourages him to study secular subjects. The popular book was praised for its vivid rendering of the closed Hasidic community; some thought it an allegory of the survival of Judaism. The Promise (1969) followed the same characters to young adulthood. Potok again turned to the Hasidim in My Name Is Asher Lev (1972), which tells of a young artist in conflict with the traditions of his family and community.
Afterwards he writes 4 more novels the autobiographical In the Beginning (1975), The Book of Lights (1981), Davita’s Harp (1985), and The Gift of Asher Lev (1990), also examine the conflict between religious and secular interests. I Am the Clay appeared in 1992, the illustrated The Tree of Here in 1993, The Sky of Now in 1995, and Old Men at Midnight, three connected novellas, in 2001. Notable among Potok’s nonfiction writings are Wanderings: Chaim Potok’s History of the Jews (1978), in which the author combines impressive scholarship with dramatic narrative, and The Gates of November (1996), a chronicle of a Soviet Jewish family and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.
|Birthday||17th February 1929|
|Died at age||73 Year old|
|Born in||The Bronx|
|Famous as||American Author|
|Spouse||Adena Sara Mosevitzsky|
|Mother||Mollie (Née Friedman) Potok|
|Died on||23 July 2002|
|Place of Death||Merion|
|City||New York City|
Chaim Potok Awards & Achivements
- Chaim Potok was awarded by the Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters by the La Sierra University in 1997.
- Chaim Potok was awarded bu the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award in 1997
Chaim Potok Major Works
- Chaim potok firt book “The Chosen” was featured on the “The New York Times”bestseller list and remained there for a period of 39 weeks. It was one of his bestselling books – it sold 3,400,000 copies and won the Edward Lewis Wallant Prize. The book was also nominated for the National Book Award.
- Chaim Potok Novel ‘The Promise’, a sequel to ‘The Chosen’, was awarded the Athenaeum Literary Award, which is presented by Athenaeum of Philadelphia.
Chaim Potok Trivia
- This acclaimed Jewish author was also a talented artist and recreated the painting, ‘The Brooklyn Crucifixion’, a piece of art that was created by one the characters in his novel.
Chaim Potok Published works
- 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 (1985)
- Theo Tobiasse (1986)
- The Gift of Asher Lev (1990)
- I Am the Clay (1992)
- The Tree of Here (1993)
- The Trope Teacher (1994)
- 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)
- Walden, Daniel, ed. (2001), Conversations with Chaim Potok
Chaim Potok Inspirational & Motivational Quotes
- And these two elements are at odds with one another because Freud is utterly adversary to almost all the ways of structuring the human experience found in Western religions. No Western religion can countenance Freud’s view of man. – Chaim Potok
- But today we become aware of other readings of the human experience very quickly because of the media and the speed with which people travel the planet. – Chaim Potok
- A book is sent out into the world, and there is no way of fully anticipating the responses it will elicit. Consider the responses called forth by the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare – let alone contemporary poetry or a modern novel. – Chaim Potok
- All of us grow up in particular realities – a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we’re brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it. – Chaim Potok
- As a species we are always hungry for new knowledge. – 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