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September 11, 1981 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-09-11

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'Stolen Jew': Novel Within Novel


Jay Neugeboren's "The
Stolen Jew" (Holt, Rinehart
and Winston), is composed
of an outer and an inner
The outer novel com-
mences in Israel at Ein
Karem, a village near
The book's principal hero,
Nathan Malkim, is a weal-
thy 64-year-old American, a
widower who never smoked,
refrained from drinking and
overeating. A resident, of
Ein Karem,he often strolled
on the nearby beach where
Arab terrorists murdered
Gail Rubin, a young Ameri-
can photographer. This out-
rageous act left an indelible
impression on Nathan's

Following his brother,
Nachman's death,
Nathan returned to New
York where his family
was observing shiva (the
seven days of mourning).
During the period of sor-

row, Nathan often thought
about his past, relatives and
friends. His father, who in
the old country was a car-
rier of heavy loads, was a
pious man who enjoyed
studying the sacred books
and philosophizing. While
pondering over the mystical
philosophy of "Zimzum," he
would ask, "If God was al-
ready everything .
Where was there space for
everything else?" He then
answered, "Like a man who
gathers in and holds his
breath, so God contracted
into Himself and made room
for the world He had
"His mother," Nathan re-
called, "had loved him for
what he could do . . . for his
talents, his success," but not
for what he was.
Soon following the days of
mourning, Michael, a
• nephew, began to plan a trip
to Russia to smuggle goods
and information to and from
the dissidents and re-

His uncle Nathan, the
author of "The Stolen
Jew," consented to ac-

company him. To finance
the venture they decided
to sell false versions of
the book's manuscript.
The book that was trans-
lated into Russian was
"welcomed by Soviet of-
ficials not only as a great
anti-czarist tract, but also
as one that is anti-

was forcefully kidnapped.
In an earlier passage of
the book, it was recorded
that Mendel kept himself
"alive by nurturing a dream
of vengeance throughout
his years of service," and as
soon as he was freed from
military service, he fol-
lowed Noah to America
where he killed him.

Curiously, Nathan hated
the word refusenik. "Why
were they called refuseniks
when it was the government
that was refusing them?
Why was it that people
named them with a word
that like beatnik or all-
rightnik, seemed to belittle
Nathan's and Michael's
experiences in Russia were
interesting and varied. But
their most inspiring experi-
ence was their participation
in a traditional Sabbath-eve
Their most disappointing
experience was the failure
of Michael's scheme to
smuggle a iefusenik out of a
mental hospital and remove
him from Russia. As a result
of this unsuccessful ven-
ture, Michael was detained
by the KGB and Nathan,
distressed, returned to New
York alone.
Thus ,ends the outer
. The inner novel, "The

(The "gzeyra" of 1827
required Jews to serve in
the Russian army 25
years, and provided that
the quotas assigned to
the Jewish communities
could be filled by minors.
Consequently, many
nine-year-old children
were kidnapped by hired
Jewish goons contemp-
tuously called "khapers"
or catchers. The evil edict
was abolished by Czar
Alexander II in 1857.)

Lost Jew," whose fictiti-
ous author, as already
mentioned, was Nathan
Malkim, is based on Can-
tonist history and is com-
posed of four fantastic
segments inserted within
various parts of the book.

Its principal -Characters
are Noah and Mendel.
The segment titled "Loss"
portrays Noah as a great
musical virtuoso, known as
the Jewish Paganini. Once
during a concert, he inter-
rupted his playing and with
intense feelings related to
the audience the story of the
Jewish boy Noah who was
saved from Czar Nicholas I's
"gzeyra" (evil edict) and was
replaced by another young
Jewish boy, Mendel, who

Novel Traces Adventures
of Cleveland Jewish Family

Best-selling author Her-
bert Gold traces five gener-
ations of a Jewish family,
from turn-of-the-century
Russia to modern-day
Cleveland, in his latest
novel, "Family" (Arbor
The author transports the
reader through the Depres-
sion, World War II, and fi-
nally, post-war prosperity
with an uncanny eye for de-
tail. Gold captures the
image of the first-
generation Jewish mother
trying to impose her "Old
World" standards of love on
her American-born son in
poignant style.
Indeed, it is the women —
grandmothers, mothers,
wives and daughter– that
provide the focus for the
novel. They guide the fam-
ily through the turbulence
that is modern America.
Gold, a former Fulbright

The segment "Star Sf
David" is a dramatic ac-
count of a pogrom that ac-
companied the expulsion of
the - Jews from Kiev and
Mendel's participation in
the slaughter.
Mendel's feelings of guilt
tormented him, and he de-
cided to avenge the injustice
done to the Jews on a
policeman. When Mendel
removed the policeman's
jacket he found "that
against his bloodstained
undergarment he too wore
the silver Star of David."
The segment "Noah's
Song" describes Noah's love
for Esther, his music ac-
companist, and reveals his
striving for mental and
emotional equilibrium, and
"for all things that could re-
turn me to myself and to my
father's world."
The segment "Kehilla" is
a dramatization of the con-
flict in the Eastern Euro-
pean Jewish communities
in the 19th Century be-
tween the conservative rul-
ing elements and their
enlightened opponents, the
"Maskilim." It divulges, in
addition, the role of the
"kehillas" as the czar's
agents in carrying out his
wicked decree.

Friday, September. 11„1981, .23

Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah
galfery Art Center

cordially invite you to preview a collection

of unique works of art by the internationally accraima artist

Edna glider

and to meet her in person

on Sunday the twentieth of September

from one o'clock until six in the evening

Gallery Art Center

18831 West 'Twelve 9Lfile Road

lathrup "Plfthge, 'Michigan

E.Tkibition will continue through

October 3, 1981

All Cheeks Flayable to gladassah.



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