Conference Proceeding: Bringing the Women into Chaim Potok’s Greatest Work

After reading Chaim Potok’s The Chosen and its sequel The Promise, Anton discovered Davita’s Harp, Potok’s novel with a female protagonist. Anton noted that the girl goes to school with The Chosen’s hero and, believing this was a “Chekov’s gun,” she waited for the book where they’d reconnect. But Potok died in 2002. Anton, a novelist and feminist Talmud student, revisited his duology. To say his female characters got short shrift is putting it mildly. The protagonists’ mothers didn’t even have names. So Anton wove those neglected women, others from Davita’s Harp and Potok’s male characters into a new novel. She created backstories based on extensive research into women’s lives in Brooklyn’s Jewish community between 1915-1955. And she gave her protagonists a romantic happy ending.

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