Davita's Harp

Davita s Harp For Davita Chandal growing up in the New York of the s and s is an experience of joy and sadness Her loving parents both fervent radicals fill her with the fiercely bright hope of a new and b

For Davita Chandal, growing up in the New York of the 1930s and 40s is an experience of joy and sadness Her loving parents, both fervent radicals, fill her with the fiercely bright hope of a new and better world But as the deprivations of war and depression take a ruthless toll, Davita unexpectedly turns to the Jewish faith that her mother had long ago abandoned, findinFor Davita Chandal, growing up in the New York of the 1930s and 40s is an experience of joy and sadness Her loving parents, both fervent radicals, fill her with the fiercely bright hope of a new and better world But as the deprivations of war and depression take a ruthless toll, Davita unexpectedly turns to the Jewish faith that her mother had long ago abandoned, finding there both a solace for her questioning inner pain and a test of her budding spirit of independence.From the Paperback edition.

  • Davita's Harp Best Read || [Chaim Potok]
    130 Chaim Potok
Davita's Harp

  1. Herman Harold Potok, or Chaim Tzvi, was born in Buffalo, New York, to Polish immigrants He received an Orthodox Jewish education After reading Evelyn Waugh s novel Brideshead Revisited as a teenager, he decided to become a writer He started writing fiction at the age of 16 At age 17 he made his first submission to the magazine The Atlantic Monthly Although it wasn t published, he received a note from the editor complimenting his work.In 1949, at the age of 20, his stories were published in the literary magazine of Yeshiva University, which he also helped edit In 1950, Potok graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English Literature.After four years of study at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America he was ordained as a Conservative rabbi He was appointed director of Leaders Training Fellowship, a youth organization affiliated with Conservative Judaism.After receiving a master s degree in English literature, Potok enlisted with the U.S Army as a chaplain He served in South Korea from 1955 to 1957 He described his time in S Korea as a transformative experience Brought up to believe that the Jewish people were central to history and God s plans, he experienced a region where there were almost no Jews and no anti Semitism, yet whose religious believers prayed with the same fervor that he saw in Orthodox synagogues at home.Upon his return, he joined the faculty of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and became the director of a Conservative Jewish summer camp affiliated with the Conservative movement, Camp Ramah A year later he began his graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and was appointed scholar in residence at Temple Har Zion in Philadelphia.In 1963, he spent a year in Israel, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Solomon Maimon and began to write a novel.In 1964 Potok moved to Brooklyn He became the managing editor of the magazine Conservative Judaism and joined the faculty of the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary The following year, he was appointed editor in chief of the Jewish Publication Society in Philadelphia and later, chairman of the publication committee Potok received a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.In 1970, Potok relocated to Jerusalem with his family He returned to Philadelphia in 1977 After the publication of Old Men at Midnight, he was diagnosed with brain cancer He died at his home in Merion, Pennsylvania on July 23, 2002, aged 73.

835 Reply to “Davita's Harp”

  1. This is a moving, haunting, and occasionally ambiguous novel that is ultimately about the value of sacred discontent At first it may seem as if the message is that religion is an opiate of the people, soothing them and comforting them and preventing them from confronting the naked evil of the world, but that is not the thrust of the novel The characters in Potok s story reminded me that if religion is a crutch, it is far from the only one Potok made me recall Herman Wouk s assertion that speakin [...]

  2. It s sad to me that everyone reads THE CHOSEN in school, and not this amazing gem of a book I barely remember THE CHOSEN, but I could rhapsodize for hours about DAVITA S HARP The characters are wonderful and real, and Davita s search for truth, for knowledge, and for family is heartbreaking and lovely The daughter of two left wing activists, Davita s sudden fascination with the Hasidic world her mother abandoned is baffling to her parents and their friends But to a child whose life contains too [...]

  3. When we meet Ilana Davita she is around 8 years old, in the late 1930s She lives in New York City with her writer activist parents in a non religious household The subject for which her parents have nearly radical zeal is, we learn through Davita s listening in to conversations and nightly meetings, communism Her parent s decisions and activism, their friends and political struggles lie at the heart of Davita s young life they move frequently and her nights are spent in a strange dream of Spain [...]

  4. FantasticoUn romanzo scoperto per caso, ma che mi ha permesso di leggere pagine toccanti e fiabesche nello stesso tempo Ambientato durante il periodo della guerra civile spagnola, vi viene rappresentato, attraverso gli occhi semplici di una bambina, un mondo drammatico di guerre e persecuzioni, di odio e violenza Davita riesce a sopportare la realt quotidiana grazie alla fantasia e all immaginazione, cos da trasformare il racconto in un succedersi melodioso di suoni e di immagini Ci che rimane d [...]

  5. This book I read within days after I finished Asher Lev Chaim Potok has become somewhat of an obsession in our house hold ever since James Moes got me to read Asher Lev Davita s Harp had me even hooked than Asher Lev did At first I was wondering if the stories were going to entwine because of the setting and time, because of the age of the characters and both Davita s and Asher s similarly unique ways of thinking and speaking Obviously Potok has found a brilliant way to portray the thoughts and [...]

  6. As I write this review the REM song Losing My Religion is on the tv, which is apt as that s one of the themes of this complicated, melancholic novel Ilana Davita is growing up in New York in the 1930s and the 1940s Both parents, Hannah and Michael, are ardent communists Communism has replaced the religions of their childhood The Eastern European Hasidism of Ilana s mother, and the New England Episcopalian life of her father Both parents are haunted by cruel childhood events, which they believe a [...]

  7. Un libro di una bellezza incredibile, raccontato in prima persona da Ilana Davita, una ragazzina di otto anni, che parla di politica, di famiglia, di solitudine, del cosa vuol dire crescere, del cosa vuol dire essere una ragazza, in un America della fine degli anni trenta Il tutto con il sottofondo musicale di un arpa eolica I pensieri sono semplici e lineari come solo i bambini sono capaci di fare.Ma Ilana, una bambina speciale intelligente, arguta, curiosa, con una sensibilit fuori dal comune, [...]

  8. My rating is based on my enjoyment of this novel when I read it, but it was such a very different stage in life for me, I don t know how I d like it now It s the story of Davita, the daughter of a left wing and literary Jewish mother and a left wing activist father There s also an uncle of sorts in there, a prototype of Chaim Potok a Yiddish writer Besdies Davita, he was my favorite character, speaking in beautiful but undecipherable parables In spite of her left wing background, Davita becomes [...]

  9. I think I rated the other Chaim Potok books 5 stars, but this one did not engage me quite so much It was different from the others in that the protagonist was female and only around 9 years old It developed into a coming of age story Davita s first person narrative was a little choppy I assume the author created simplistic sentences and dialog in keeping with her age She often relayed adult conversation and then remarked I didn t understand But the themes Potok explores are anything but simplist [...]

  10. Potok s use of recurrent images borders on overt symbolism, and yet retains an internal coherence beyond that of religious iconography or surrealist leaps by having his narrators tell you exactly what the images mean This is probably what makes Davita s Harp a childrens book, even thought it explicitly and graphically addresses child abuse, rape, mutilation, murder, and warfare A story within a story conceit allows the close, first person narrator to recall images that her storyteller friend had [...]

  11. Based on my previous experience with the work of Chaim Potok, I knew that Davita s Harp would involve a young person s experience with Judaism What I didn t expect was the clash of identities invoked in a story of a seemingly, at least at first, naive pre adolescent girl Ilana Davita s parents were ardent irreligious Communists, her father s family were stony capitalists from New Englander though his sister was a Christian nurse , her mother s parents were orthodox Jews Not only that, but the mi [...]

  12. Ilana Davita Chandal, the daughter of a nonbelieving Jewish mother and nonbelieving Christian father grows up in New York in the years before and during WWII Both of her parents are active radicals Her life is changed when her reporter father goes to Spain to write on the Civil War there As she asks questions and searches for what to believe, she turns to the Jewish faith The title comes from a wooden harp which hangs on the door everywhere they live The harp sings whenever the door is opened or [...]

  13. I thought this book was amazing It captured this incredible mind of young, remarkable girl living in the mid nineteen hundreds Davita Chandal It captured her struggle to accept the world and it s injustices The world she came to realize, was not a fair place sometimes She learned you can not deny it, or pretend it doesn t exist You must do what you can to seek the bad in the world It has to be clear to you though, that you can not solve all of the worlds problems They will never be fully solved [...]

  14. The architecture of the core themes of this book was so well constructed I guess I don t think about the authors of books very often as I m reading them I typically think only about the stories and the characters But the contents of this book were so beautifully written and so masterfully unfolded that I found myself thinking often about Potok s incredible skill in writing it I loved the three birds I of course loved the harp I loved Davita s trueness to herself, her searching and her courage an [...]

  15. This book is written in an interesting way It s from the viewpoint of an 8 11ish year old So the sentence structure is simpler than Potok s other books However, this is a very smart girl with parents who don t protect her from the horrors going on in the world, so she does have thoughts you wouldn t normally attribute to such a young girl I thought it was a really good book, but I still kind of wish I hadn t read it Reading how the Orthodox Jewish community in NYC during the 30s treat this extre [...]

  16. I really enjoy reading books written by Chaim Potok They are not necessarily easy or entertaining, but I love his thought processess, his development of characters that I can associate with, and I am most impressed with the vast amount of knowledge he shares with his readers From this book I discovered many subtle things about myself and about things that I am interested in at this point in my life One poignant lesson I learned was that there are many truths out there that seem threatening to my [...]

  17. Dear black bird,Though the quantity of your contribution to Davita s Harp is about as small as you are, you and your creator the fantastic Jakob Dew taught me and Ilana Davita a memorable lesson That you should not close your eyes, no matter how worrisome the world is This lesson is still so valuable to me today, because I always try to look away whenever something bad happens Thank you, black bird, for being such a brave bird in your quest to find the good music, instead of the sounds of destru [...]

  18. As slow and seemingly uneventful as Davita s Harp may seem at first, it has such a great pay off just in seeing Ilana Davita etch a place for herself and her own thoughts while surrounded by people with such extreme opinions and beliefs I really appreciated the novel s depiction of girlhood as self discovery and assertion The most powerful parts of the narrative are when Ilana breaks the mold of what s expected of her like when she says Kaddish for the first time, or when she steps out of the bo [...]

  19. Perhaps I really like coming of age stories, but this is one of my favorite books I would never have read it, or maybe any Potok, had not someone in my book club chosen it Interesting that many of the women give it higher reviews than the men, but as a man, I found it also touched my heart I thought the evocation of the 30 s, the Spanish Civil War, the somewhat naive leftist Communist idealism of that time were all very well portrayed The struggle to come to terms with spirituality and hypocrisy [...]

  20. La storia di Davita una di quelle che restano dentro Durante la lettura a volte mi sono sentita come tradita nelle aspettative, ma ora ogni tanto mi soffermo a ripensare all arpa eolia e ai due uccellini che vi hanno fatto il nido, alla visione del mondo di Davita e al suo modo di vivere con naturalezza e caparbiet le cose che ama L ho vissuto come un romanzo sincero un pezzo di mondo narrato con garbo da una bambina, senza l artificio di effetti speciali per creare sensazionalismi inutili.

  21. This is a beautiful story of a young girl growing up in the 1930 s Davita s parents are activists in the communist party in America The book explores some ideas on the importance of religion and history and finding what is important to you It is also just a wonderful story of a child growing up.

  22. The author s nuanced ability to get into the mind of an adolescent girl struggling with reconciling her parent s communist views with the Judaism of her community is amazing The struggles she goes through are so poignant and well written.

  23. Een prachtig boek Fictie en realiteit zijn mooi met elkaar verweven De plaats van de vrouw in het jodendom wordt kritisch bekeken Een boek met inhoud, het lezen waard

  24. This feels like a young adult novel The characters feel like schedules you have aunt Sarah representing the spiritual christian side, there are the parents who are typical communists and there is Jakob who is the kind of writer that speaks sentences like writers typically do in cartoons or young adult novels Almost every sentence in Davita s harp feels like it s a textbook novel sentence In other words this novel contains lots of flat, dull writing and dialogues which seem to go on for ever Yes [...]

  25. Davita s Harp by Chaim Potok is another beautiful and moving novel by this author Like the others I ve read, it s a coming of age story about a young, smart, Jewish kid unlike the others I ve read, this one is about a girl, and that makes all the difference Davita s Harp is the only one of Potok s novels with a female protagonist Davita herself tells the story of her childhood, growing up in New York City during the Great Depression Her mother is a Jewish immigrant, but not religiously observant [...]

  26. As always, I love Potok s writing Everything is described in a way that plays in front of your eyes like a movie So much is said between the lines, so much is felt between the events that play out Potok clearly uses alot of symbolism in this book the bird, the harp etc but it never feels contrived since these symbols are real in Ilana Davita s imagination They are a vessel for her to experience her thoughts and feelings about events she has no control over I tell you, he has a way with words thi [...]

  27. De ouders van Davita komen uit verschillende millieus het joodse en het christelijke , maar vinden elkaar in een gezamelijke toewijding aan het communisme Davita, een gevoelig en intelligent kind, moet voor zichzelf gaan uitmaken wat ze wel en niet wil geloven.In de jaren vlak voor de Tweede Wereldoorlog raakt ze ingewijd in de orthodoxe joodse leer, maar voelt zich daar als jonge vrouw niet geaccepteerd Ondanks alle angst en pijn slaagt Davita erin iets met zich mee te dragen dat haar innerlijk [...]

  28. I ve been reading the novels of Chaim Potok for ages but one gets tired of The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev.After sepnding quite a bit of time on the latest volume of Caro s massive biography of LBJ I decided it was time for a little pleasure reading I had fond memories of Potok s Davita s Harp which I first read when it was published in 1985 I located a used copy and dug in I was not disappointed.It is a well written rather melancholy story of a young woman growing up in the 30 s Her mother [...]

  29. Potok is definitely one of my favorite authors I love being drawn into the communities he creates, his leisurely pace that still somehow makes me want to devour the book, and his exploration about how faith and family relationships both clash with and enhance the world we live in The two big ideas that drew me in to this book were sacred discontent, and what we gain and lose by devoting ourselves to an ideology whether religious or political The world can be a truly brutal place, and devoting yo [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *