Chaim Potok

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Herman Harold Potok , better known as Chaim Potok (born February 17, 1929 in New York City , † July 23, 2002 in Merion, Pennsylvania ), was an American Jewish writer and rabbi .


Chaim Potok was born in the Bronx . His parents were immigrants from Poland . Traditionally, his parents gave him a Hebrew name. "Chaim" is the Hebrew word for "life".

In 1950, Potok graduated with honors in English literature. He also successfully completed a degree in Hebrew literature. He was also ordained a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America . Potok joined the American Army and spent more than a year as a military rabbi in South Korea from 1955 to 1957 . In 1965 he received a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania .

Potok was best known for his debut novel The Chosen (German: The Chosen ) from 1967, which became an immediate bestseller, and the sequel The Promise (German: The promise) from 1969. The film The Chosen was released in 1981. Here Chaim Potok played in a cameo as a Talmud teacher . There is also an arrangement for theater and musicals.

These two books are about the friendship between two boys, one of whom comes from a strictly Hasidic background and the other was brought up in a Jewish-liberal manner. Potok knew the subject, the tension between the two worlds, from his own life. He grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. His literary ambitions aroused much opposition in those around him; it was thought that he was wasting his time.

Other well-known books by Potok are My Name is Asher Lev (German: Mein Name ist Ascher Lev) from 1972 and The Gift of Asher Lev from 1990. These two books are also about an artist whose orthodox- must defy the Jewish family and environment in order to turn his talent into a profession.

In addition to novels, Potok also wrote plays, children's books, short stories and non-fiction. He also ghosted the autobiography of violinist Isaac Stern .

Potok died on July 23, 2002 at the age of 73 at his home in Merion, Pennsylvania .

Works (selection)

  • My name is Ascher Lev. (My name is Asher Lev) Translated by Margaret Carroux . Wunderlich, Tübingen 1973
  • At the beginning. Translator Margaret Carroux. Wunderlich, Tübingen 1977
  • The promise. Translator Margaret Carroux. Wunderlich, Tübingen 1976
  • Hikes. History of the Jewish People. (Wanderings) Translator Margaret Carroux. Wunderlich, Tübingen 1980

See also

Web links

Commons : Chaim Potok  - collection of images, videos and audio files