He grew up in a household where a high class of edicate and manners were enforced (Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale, 2003). Due to his way of life he later on developed tight grasp of art. His parents highly disapproved of this and did not want him to “waste his time” with this. In the Jewish household painting is seen as the least acknowledged and ambitious hobby. Potok attended Yeshiva University, and became a rabbi after graduating. He began rabbinical studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He soon received his master’s degree in Hebrew literature.
In 1954 he served as a chaplain for the United States army while posted in South Korea. Later on throughout his life he began a teaching post at the University of Judaism. As years of study flew by this motivated Jew, he managed to earn a doctorate in philosophy in the University of Pennsylvania. The next Two Years flew right by, leading to the event of him writing his very first novel, The Chosen One, which was the very first novel ever to have a Hasidic Jewish setting (Contemporary Authors Online). This was a serious impact and appraisal of the Judaism Religion.
This life unique novel was on the New York’s best sellers list for approximately 6 months. Potok elaborated expanded his new style of writing-by-writing more books on the daily life of Jews and child’s stories. Potok had a unique style of writing followed by a look of religious influence as well. He usually conveyed the theme of Judaism/Hasidic through his precise use of characterization and dialogue. The majority of his beautiful creations were about how everyone should have some sort of faith in their lives and how religion has a huge impact on modern day life.
Potok wrote about Jewish culture was viewed directly from the shoes of a very own Jew. He frequently focused on the issues and controversies in the Jewish Culture. Most of his life and works of literature were dedicated to his very own religion and faith, which was portrayed through his own writing. Potok received multiple awards for his unique book (St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers). The Chosen One was on the New York Time’s bestseller’s category for about 6 months, that is some very outstanding time to be a bestseller especially since Judaism is one of the least popular religions in the U.
S. As the years passed his literature career slowly declined in success and popularity due to critics claiming his unique style of writing wasn’t that professional, very mediocre, and not nearly as polished as his original creations. He was criticized according to that manner the following, “In The Beginning,” “The Book of Lights,” and “DaVita’s Harp” (St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers). “He wrote in a straightforward pose that some critics found unpolished and other likened to that of Hemingway. ” said the New York Time’s Fox.
On the other hand, many other critics loved and admired Potok’s love for his religion, the need to express his feeling about Jewish beliefs from a first person perspective, and the fearlessness in his writing tone. “Although his writing angered and scandalized some Jews, others applauded it his belief in the Jewish faith” Said critics from the Los Angeles Times. Chaim Potok died on July 23, 2002 due to the spread and intensity of brain cancer he had been diagnosed with. He died at the age of 73 years old. He was a motivating, inspirational, and phenomenal author that will never be forgotten throughout the Jewish culture.
His name will be remembered as one of the most inspirational writers of all time, as well as a huge religious icon. Although critics often downsized him, he will always be known as being one of the greatest American Jewish writers of the 20th century. "Chaim Potok. " Newsmakers. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale
Biography In Context. Web. 1 May 2012. "Chaim Potok. " St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers. Gale, 1999. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 1 May 2012. "Chaim Potok. " Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 1 May 2012.