Growing Up Jewish

Published: 2021-09-28 12:05:03
essay essay

Category: Judaism, Fascism, Growing Up

Type of paper: Essay

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My name is Asher Lev is a novel written by Chaim Potok, an American rabbi who narrates Asher's early life, the challenges he faces when attempting to pursue his passion and career-drawing and painting. His father disapproves of his art of drawing. Because of his concentration on the art, he becomes averse to education, which makes his community members to feel ashamed of him.
Potok remained an active artist/writer until his death in 2002.The Hasidism religion does not consider the second commandment against graphic arts because art "belongs to the other side." As Asher grows older, he learns to control his emotions in relation to his paintings and concentrate more on his art that he becomes successful.
The book ends when Asher is twenty-two years old. The plot against America is a political novel written by Philip Roth. The book explains how America has become fascist post-1935 era and Hitler's allies are in control of the white house. There is total chaos in America because of national politics and hatred. Gangs go around harassing people.

The lower-middle-class Jews of Weequahic, in Newark, try to learn how to use a gun to defend themselves in an apartment. America and the rest of Europe are taken over by fascist movements and imitators of Adolf Hitler and Mussolini.Both Asher and Phillip face challenges that are mainly unrelated to their lives.
Their geographical location and the surrounding community determines the challenges each one of them faces. Asher and Philip face challenges that are to a certain extent unrelated. For instance, Asher is born in a conservative religious community-all the members surrounding him expects him to adhere to the Jewish religion and customs.
His father is opposed to his art terming it anti-religious while Philip grows up in a quite liberal community that does not put much emphasis on religion and culture. His major challenges stem from outside his community. In My Name is Asher Levi, "During Asher's childhood, his artistic inclination brings him into conflict with the members of his Jewish community, considers art unrelated to religious expression to be at best a waste of time and possibly a sacrilege.
It brings him into particularly strong conflict with his father, a man who has devoted his life to serving their leader, the Rebbe, by traveling around the world bringing the teachings and practice of their sect to other Jews, and who is by nature incapable of understanding or appreciating art" (Knopf, 2003).
While in The Plot against America, "Hitler's allies rule the White House. Anti-Semitic mobs roam the streets. The lower-middle-class Jews of Weequahic, in Newark, N.J., cower in a second-floor apartment, trying to figure out how to use a gun to defend themselves. ("You pulla the trig," a kindly neighbor explains)" (Berman Web).
In My Name Is Asher, Asher has to deal with a religion that is imposed on him. His graphic art is not in line with his community's expectations. He faces the challenge of proving to his community that his art is not detrimental to his religion. As he grows older the conflict between him and his community increases.
As he matures, he learns control his emotions. Though he sometimes identified himself as religious, he took on a more secular path. He had to make a choice between his art and the Jewish religion. He chose the art over his Jewish religion. As Asher grew older, he resolved to portray his challenges through paintings. He portrays his mother's suffering through Christian art. Asher shows in his book that a balance can be struck between religion and art.
Religion help emphasize art. Religious figures can be depicted through art. For Philip political challenges affect him unlike Lev's that are religious; Philip has to deal with the issue of fascists taking control of his country. It encourages people to worship.Philip Roth finds his father powerless in dealing with the dominion of his country by fascists. His community members are disgruntled about his career, but he has no way of helping them.
Philip has to deal with anti-Semitism that was propagated by the fascists," America has gone fascist and ordinary life has been flattened under a steamroller of national politics and mass hatreds. Hitler's allies rule the White House. Anti-Semitic mobs roam the streets" (Davenport Web).Religious affiliation does not hinder one from achieving their goal.
They must focus on achieving and perfecting what they aspire. Levi does not allow his Jewish religion and culture to hinder him from pursuing his career of art. Lev learns to do things that he loves most. He pursues a career in painting at the expense of education and religion. As he grows older, he succeeds in art. Success comes after much struggle and endurance. Lev became successful after practicing for a long time. He also was patient and enduring of his community's opposition towards his career in painting.
Lev also learnt that it is a mistake to separate religion from freethinking, humanism, and development. Development has always been practiced alongside religion. In other words, religion does encourage development of the community. In "The Plot against America," Philip learns that the need for glory makes fascists to invade other countries.
They use the army, police, and gangs to achieve their goals.Fascist leaders control all aspects of the people under their control. They control economic life, religious life, social life, and economic life of the citizens. Fascists use intimidation, threats, arrests, and killings to control and subdue the people they lead.
They do not allow any dissenting views from the people under their control.In Asher Lev's book "My Name Is Asher Lev," he speaks on discrimination based on religion, culture, and secularism. His community discriminates him because of his passion on graphical art. The community tells him that art is against the Jewish religion and culture.
However, on holding on onto his talent and career of painting, he succeeds. He did not allow the disagreement of his community deter him from doing what he wanted most-art.Philip Roth, on the other hand, faces the challenge of a fascist leader imposing his political beliefs on to his country- America. He too is discriminated against based on his skin color and religion.
His Jewish community in America begins to train themselves how to use a gun so they can defend themselves. The fascist leader unleashes the gang to terrorize them the Jews in America. Hitler's men introduce fascism in the white house and the whole country-America.
Works Cited

Berman, Paul. "'The Plot Against America'." The New York Times, 3 Oct. 2004.
Davenport, Guy."Collision with the outside world." The New York Times, 16 April 1972. Potok, Chaim. My Name Is Asher Lev. Knopf; 2003.

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