Chapter 11 Notes from The Chosen

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The Chosen Chapter 11

The new school year proves to be chaotic and full of excitement, both in the news and on a personal level. Reuven is elected class president and is consumed by his mounting schoolwork and the political extracurricular activities. Mr. Malter is consumed by the war in Europe, from the Battle of the Bulge to the possible conclusion of the fighting. Danny and Reuven do not see each other much, but do not fear the loss of their friendship. Danny still wants to discuss Freud's sexual notions with Reuven, for he has no one else with whom to discuss them and is curious as to what it means.

Reuven finds time in February to visit Danny on Shabbat and is welcomed with the traditional Talmud games until Danny falls ill with the flu and bronchitis. Reuven is unable to even visit his friend throughout most of the following months.

During school, Davey Cantor bursts into class with the news that President Roosevelt has died, causing a disturbance in the middle of English class. School is immediately let out as everyone ponders the loss. Reuven sees the sadness on the streets and feels a strong connection to the country's loss. "I found myself crying too, an felt a gnawing emptiness, as though I had been scraped clean inside and there was nothing in me now but a terrible darkness. I was feeling as though it had been my father who had died" Chapter 11, p. 187.

The death of Roosevelt spreads sadness throughout the community for a long period of time. As soon as Danny regains his health, Reuven falls ill with the flu for ten days and is forced to let go of his political responsibilities in order to catch up on his work. And as soon as Reuven improves, both Reb Saunders and Mr. Malter become ill with the flu and possible pneumonia. When the two fathers are ill, good news explodes in the news that the war on Europe has ended. With such blessed information came the realization of Hitler's genocide on six million Jews. Reuven cannot contemplate the mass numbers of Jews killed and both fathers have trouble dealing with such horrific knowledge. When Reuven visits Danny on Shabbat, the usual Talmudic study is replaced with discussion of European Jewry. Reb Saunders repeatedly cries that the world kills the Jews. He questions the almighty master how such a holocaust could occur and resolves only that it is God's will. Mr. Malter is horrified by such an answer and asks if Reuven is satisfied with it. Reuven cannot believe Reb Saunders' explanation of the atrocities in Europe and instead listens to his own father's words:

"'Six million of our people have been slaughtered,' he went on quietly. 'It is inconceivable. It will have meaning only if we give it meaning. We cannot wait for God...There is only one Jewry left now in the world...It is here in America. We have a terribly responsibility. We must replace the treasures we have lost...A madman has destroyed our treasures. If we do not rebuild Jewry in America, we will die as a people.'" Chapter 11, p. 192

Topic Tracking: Zionism 3

Soon after Reuven takes his final examinations, Mr. Malter suffers a heart attack. While he recovers in the hospital, Reuven moves into Danny's room to live.

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