September 1, 2020
The year is 1953 and Henry Saltzman, an Americanized Jew looking for his first job as a high school English teacher, unexpectedly finds himself confronting a roomful of intense ten-year-old boys in a Hasidic (Satmar) Brooklyn yeshiva. Assimilated Saltzman is profoundly challenged by their prejudices and fears about the world outside their close-knit community and vows to help them become not just good Jews, but good Americans. In the process, he learns from them as well. Based on the author’s own experience, the novel takes the reader inside the alien world of Hasidic Judaism, in its early years in America, with humor, warmth and deep affection.