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Jenna Hecker The Chosen 2232004 Chaim Potoks The Chosen follows the friendship of two pious Jewish boys and explores the cultural divide between the Hasidic community and modern orthodoxy The books begins with a baseball game that turns into a holy war as orthodox Jewish boys try to justify their religious practices when faced against a Hasidic team who feel themselves more pious than their adversaries When Danny the Hasidic protagonist hits a ball at Reuven a bit too hard shattering his glasses and nearly blinding him the boys develop a friendship that opens their eyes to their individual communities Both boys benefit from their fathers legacies but suffer in their shadows Reb Saunders Dannys father provides his son with intellectual stimulation but not with fatherly interaction and love the Danny craves Danny does not want to follow is fathers footsteps and inherit his synagogue instead favoring psychological studies Reuven encounters problems after his father gives a pro-Zionist speech at the college The book explores the burden of being chosen Danny was born into his position as a religious leader as a result he feels frustrated that he gets to make very few choices of his own in his life His experience is teenage angst being magnified by the burden of an oppressive but vibrant Hasidic community that values his knowledge but has become dependant on his father and as a result his family for leadership that Danny does not necessarily feel he is able to inherit Dannys experience in The Chosen is one that many observant Jews grapple with although perhaps on a smaller level throughout their life Judaism is a vibrant culture based religion and one often may find themselves feeling set apart from the secular world when they are keeping Sabbath or observing kashrut One must choose whether they want to accept the secular world of choice and opportunity or their chosen Jewish route of unique and dynamic culture and observance
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