Dov Elbaum
Elul Term
Ultra-Orthodox Jewry lives in a closed, alienated world whose rigid rules exclude not only non-Jews but most of Israel`s secular Jewish majority. In his first novel, Elbaum born into this world, which he left at 17, describes life in one of its boarding school yeshivas in Jerusalem. That is where Nahman, 14 and a half years old, studies, innocent of any heretical thoughts. Yeshiva life is portrayed through his eyes with utter credibility and authenticity. But the novel does not merely show us a curious, exotic world: it also lets the reader into the soul of an adolescent youth. The first sparks of sexuality and bodily changes create in Nahman a sense of sin and guilt, leading him to struggle fiercely against the Evil Inclination. He wishes to be pure and find favor with God, and thus save his sick mother. Surrounding him is ugliness and misery in which his sharp eye discerns the corruption, intrigue, power struggles and sensuality fomented and fermenting around him.

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