The Chosen

The Chosen

A coming-of-age classic about two Jewish boys growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s, this “profound and universal” story of what we share across cultures remains deeply pertinent today (The Wall Street Journal).

It’s the spring of 1944 and fifteen-year-olds Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders have lived five blocks apart all their lives. But they’ve never met, not until the day an accident during a softball game sparks an unlikely friendship. Soon these two boys—one expected to become a Hasidic rebbe, the other at ease with secular America—are drawn into one another’s worlds despite one father’s strong opposition.

Set against the backdrop of WWII and the creation of the state of Israel, The Chosen is a poignant novel about transformation and tradition, growing up and growing wise, and finding yourself—even if that might mean leaving your community.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501142482 | 
  • February 2016

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Chosen includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Although Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders have lived within blocks of each other in Brooklyn for fifteen years, they do not meet until the day they step onto a local play yard as fierce opponents in a wartime baseball game that represents much more than mere sport. As both teams battle for the honor of their community, an aggressive hit by Danny causes Reuven to suffer an injury that could maim him for life. After Danny shows up at the hospital to apologize, the two are transformed almost instantly from enemies to best friends, and Danny begins to share with Reuven his secret hopes for his life and future. However, the boys’ friendship is not without its obstacles: Danny is a Hasidic Jew, whose father, a tzaddik, believes passionately in upholding the traditions he was raised with, while Reuven is the son of a Jewish scholar who insists that their people simply cannot afford to wait for the Messiah. While Reuven believes himself the sole keeper of Danny’s secrets, Reuven’s father has his own secret: He has been recommending secular books to Danny at the bo see more

About the Author

Chaim Potok

Chaim Potok was born in New York City in 1929. He is the author of nine novels, including The Chosen (1967), The Promise (1969), and My Name is Asher Lev (1972), as well as three plays, three children’s books, and three works of nonfiction. An ordained rabbi, he served as an army chaplain in Korea and received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. He died in 2002.

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