My Name Is Asher Lev Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. At the beginning of Chapter 7, the mashpia informs Asher that which person wants to meet with him?

2. Where does Asher go after school when Aryeh is out of town?

3. When Rivkeh is worried for Aryeh's safety, to which relative does she cry out?

4. The Ukrainian Jewish Communists published a newspaper called what?

5. According to the mashpia, which is the type of Jew who attains the greatest measure of righteousness?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Rivkeh want to enter the university?

2. What does the mashpia do at Asher's school?

3. At the end of Chapter 3, Asher draws a picture of Stalin in his notebook without realizing it. What do you think is happening in Asher's mind when he draws things without being aware of it?

4. When talking with Asher about Vienna, what does Yudel Krinsky imply when he quotes, "honor your father and mother"?

5. In Chapter 1, Asher sometimes goes with Aryeh to the office. What does Aryeh do there, according to Asher?

6. During Asher's struggles against going to Vienna, he asks why no one is listening to him. Rivkeh replies, "Everyone is listening. [...] There would be no problem if no one were listening to you, Asher." Explain what Rivkeh means by this statement.

7. When Asher first meets Jacob Kahn, what advice does Jacob give him concerning becoming an artist?

8. Compare Aryeh's reaction to Stalin's death with Yudel Krinsky's reaction.

9. Yudel Krinsky mentions several differences between Russia and the United States. What is one difference?

10. How does Rivkeh react to the drawings Asher creates as a toddler?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

By the end of the book, the Rebbe believes that Asher has gone too far in his artwork and is now hurting those who love him, although he claims to understand Asher's work. Do you think the Rebbe would have preferred Asher to stay within the acceptable limits of the Ladover Hasidic faith? What do you imagine a reasonable Ladover Hasidic artist would paint? Try to imagine and explain some symbols other than the crucifixion that Asher could have used to convey ultimate suffering, symbols that would have been better received by Asher's community.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the novel, the question arises whether Asher's art is from the Ribbono shel olom, which is a name for God, or from the sitra achra, which is a name for the forces of evil. Asher himself wonders at various times what the source of his art is. Provide some reasons why Asher's art may possibly come from each source, and then explain whether you think Asher's art sides with good or with evil. If you think his art is completely neutral, explain why. Use specific examples from the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Aryeh Lev risks his health and at times his life to help bring Russian Jews to safety, even though Rivkeh and Asher worry about him intensely. Do you think Aryeh makes a wise decision to travel abroad for the Rebbe, or do you think he would have been wiser to stay in Brooklyn? Write your idea of what might have happened if Aryeh had stayed in Brooklyn during Asher's artistically formative years.

(see the answer keys)

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