In this charming autobiographical novel reminiscent of Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, an assimilated Jewish high school teacher spends an instructive and challenging year teaching in a Hasidic yeshiva in 1950s Brooklyn.
The year is 1953 and Henry Saltzman, an Americanized Jew looking for his first job as a high school English teacher, unexpectedly finds himself confronting a roomful of intense, hyperactive ten-year-old boys in a Hasidic Brooklyn yeshiva. The assimilated Saltzman is profoundly challenged by their prejudices and fears about the world outside their close-knit religious community and vows to help them become not just good Jews, but good Americans. In the process, like any good teacher, he learns from them as well. Based on the author’s own experience, this charming novel takes us inside the alien world of Hasidic Judaism with humor, warmth, and deep affection.