Notes on Characters from The Chosen

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The Chosen Major Characters

Reuven Malter: Reuven Malter is a fifteen year-old boy when he is hit in the eye with a baseball by Danny Saunders. From that day, his life is forever changed by the friendship he begins with Danny. An orthodox, secular Jew, Reuven has a close friendship with his father, is a hard-working student, loyal friend, and popular kid at school. Despite his mathematic skills, he plans to become a rabbi.

Danny Saunders: Danny Saunders, the son of a tzaddik and Hasidic Jew, hits Reuven in the eye with a baseball, initiating their longtime friendship. He possesses a brilliant mind that is not held back by European persecution, but rather by a silence between his soul and his father. He is to take over the inheritance as rabbi from his father, but prefers to become a psychologist. Obsessed with Freud, Danny obeys and respects his father, a man who raises him in silence and leads a people with power and honor. He cares for Reuven as his closest friend and eventually shaves his beard and cuts his ear locks to enter the secular world at Columbia University.

Rabbi Isaac Saunders: Reb Saunders is Danny's father and the leader of a Hasidic community in Brooklyn. A religious and powerful man, he is considered next to God by his followers and chooses to raise his son in silence. Constantly studying Talmud and quizzing his son in public, Reb Saunders speaks to Danny through Reuven. Although he believes Israel should not exist as a state without the messiah, he ultimately praises Reuven and his father for having come into Danny's life. He is an older man with a long beard and ear locks who practices the laws of Judaism as if time were frozen, suffering for all humanity.

David Malter: David Malter is Reuven's father and a staunch academic. His life is devoted to teaching and bettering the world as a whole. He obsesses over the war in Europe and leads several rallies in support of the new state of Israel. A caring and devoted father, Mr. Malter discusses all matters with Reuven, from personal life to current events, and acts as a teacher to Danny. He is the man who gives Danny books to read in the library and supports him in his personal pursuit of knowledge. Because of his obsession with current events and teaching, Mr. Malter suffers two heart attacks, frightening Reuven and forcing him to live with Danny for several weeks.

Minor Characters

Mr. Galanter: Mr. Galanter is Reuven's baseball coach and the person who brings him to the hospital immediately following his injury. He visits Reuven regularly in the hospital and becomes unhappy when he sees Billy. Mr. Galanter was unable to participate in the US army due to an unknown disability.

Davey Cantor: Davey is one of Reuven's high school friends on the baseball team who shares the fear of the orthodox Hasidic Jews. He questions Reuven's friendship with Danny.

Tony Savo : Tony Savo is the middle-aged fighter with an eye patch who sleeps on the left side of Reuven during his hospital stay. He is vivacious, enigmatic, and constantly in everyone's business.

Billy: Billy is a young ten-year-old blonde boy who lies to the right of Reuven in the hospital. He is blind, but plans to undergo surgery to reverse his condition. Reuven befriends this young boy, who hopes to remain friends with Reuven following their hospital stay.

Mrs. Carpenter: Mrs. Carpenter is the nurse in charge of the ward in which Reuven stays during his hospital days. She is strict, but has a heart of gold as she watches over her patients.

Mickey: Mickey is a young boy with chronic stomach problems who is staying in a nearby ward of the hospital. He comes to visit the optometric ward to ask Tony to throw around a ball with him.

Manya: Manya is the Malter's Ukranian housekeeper who blesses them with large meals and treats them with love, as if they were her own family.

Dr. Snydman: Dr. Snydman takes care of Reuven at the hospital and operates on his eye. He tells Reuven that there is a possibility of loss of sight in his left eye, but ultimately heals Reuven's eyesight completely.

Professor Nathan Appleman: Appleman is Danny's psychology professor at Hirsch who is a stark experimental psychologist. He dislikes Freud's writings immensely and causes strife for Danny. Danny eventually speaks with him and they come to a mutual admiration and respect for experimental and psychoanalytic psychology together.

Rav Gershenson: Rav Gershenson is a professor of Talmud at Hirsch, in whose class Danny resides and Reuven eventually reaches. He teaches the highest level of Talmud and allows both Reuven and Danny to show their high intellect in class.

Jack Rose: Jack Rose is a secular, nonreligious Jew who contributes a large sum of money to the Jewish National Fund. It is this type of Jew that will now populate the synagogues of America, causing mixed emotions in both Reuven and his father.

Levi Saunders: Levi is Danny's younger, sickly brother, whom he hopes will take Reb Saunders' place as tzaddik in the Hasidic community. He suffers from a blood disease and grows up during the course of the book.

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