Chaim Potok and the Problem of Assimilation for the American Jew

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Chaim Potok and the Problem of Assimilation for the American Jew America has been a country of immigrants since Europeans first settled it over five hundred years ago. America has always faced the problem of assimilation, a challenge faced by every country with a considerable immigrant population. Because immigrants founded America, her culture is a combination of the cultures of other countries. Should these immigrants isolate themselves from the mainstream American culture, or should they …

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…famous novels, The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev, both focus on a brilliant son who chooses a career in the secular world, much to the disappointment of their fathers. These books, in addition to The Book of Lights and In the Beginning, also focus on the problem of Jewish assimilation into mainstream American culture. Chaim Potok’s novels are distinctly Jewish yet contain universal themes that apply to everyone, regardless of ethnic background.