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30 November, 2006

Book Review: A Day of Small Beginnings by Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum

Read and reviewed for armchair interviews

In 1906 Poland, Itzik Lieberman, - an overworked fourteen year old, stumbles across a Polish peasant whipping three young Jewish children on their way home from studying. He stops to help them, and in the process, accidentally kills the Pole. He flees the angry mob that comes looking for him, and hides in the Jewish cemetery. There, he falls on the newly uncovered grave of Friedl Alterman and prays to God for protection. His terrified and frantic prayers awake the spirit of Friedl, who comes to protect the scared boy. Itzik, who has been called faithless since his father left his family, can not hear Freidl’s spirit and does not realize the help he has been given. He eventually flees Poland for America, where he can be free from the horrible accident. Itzik raises a family and never talks about either Poland or the religion that he has cast aside for socialism. When his son and then his granddaughter return to Poland, after his death, the country they encounter is vastly different from the little they know of Itzik’s Poland.

Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum’s first novel explores the idea of the loss of family history once members make the journey to the new world. She bases her story on a tale she heard about her own family’s loss of heritage. She weaves a story that crosses four generations, two countries, and one religion. A Day of Small Beginnings examines what it means to be Jewish even when you don't practice the religion, and what happens when Jews-by-name begin to explore their heritage and the rich history of Judaism. Because this is such a plausible story, not just for Jews but for anyone with an immigrant background Rosenbaum's story engages readers across the spectrum and allows them to identify with the ill-fated Itzik and his reasons for running away from home.
ISBN-13: 9780316014519
Publish Date: November 2006
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Binding: Hardcover

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Try SWAP by Sam Moffie.