55 pages 1 hour read

Chaim Potok

The Chosen

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1967

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Book 1, Chapters 1-2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 1, Chapter 1 Summary

Reuven Malter is a Jewish teen and Danny Saunders is a Hasidic (a very strict type of Jew) teen, and they live in Brooklyn, where there are different Hasidic sects, like the Russian Hasids led by Danny’s dad. The sects have separate customs, allegiances, and synagogues.

Danny attends the yeshiva (an all-male Jewish school) led by his dad, David Malter, while Reuven goes to the school where his dad teaches. Reuven and his dad aren’t Hasidic, and Mr. Malter teaches more English classes than required and teaches Jewish classes in Hebrew (the biblical language of the Jews), not Yiddish (the language spoken by Jews in Central and Eastern Europe).

The schools square off in sports, and Danny’s school plays Reuven’s school in softball, which is like baseball (and the characters often refer to it as baseball), but the ball is larger, and the pitcher throws it underhand. Reuven can play second base and pitch, and Mr. Galanter, the gym teacher, is Reuven’s de facto coach. Portly and in his thirties, Mr. Galanter uses war language, and the players wonder why he’s not fighting in World War II.