The Red Heifer Cover Image
The Red Heifer Cover Image

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A Novel by

Goodreads rating: 4.67

Hardcover, Published in Mar 2001 by Syracuse University Press

ISBN10: 0815606923 | ISBN13: 9780815606925

Page count: 289

Swirling in the melting pot of Manhattan's Lower East Side, the eldest son of religious, Yiddish-speaking parents narrates The Red Heifer from the 1930s, when he is five, through the early 1950s. American-born, he grows to sexual and social awareness amid old-world rabbis, new-world mobsters, Jewish atheists, musicians, and new waves of immigrants. The growing boy struggles with love and death amid poverty, crime, and fervent religion and politics. He passionately evokes the largely vanished working-class Jewish Lower East Side as an unromantic, sometimes violent place, in which characters strive to observe pious duties, make money, and assimilate. Steeped in Jewish-American history, Jewish lore, and Yiddishkeit, Leo Haber tells the stories of people who love learning, family, righteousness -- and the pleasures of the flesh. The Red Heifer teams with unforgettable characters like the narrator's idol, hoodlum Feigy Grossman; his father, Reb Yussel, a Talmudic scholar; Aunt Geety, Uncle Oosher; and a street person who claims to be the Messiah. Each grapples, memorably, with traditional values and the cultural enticements of their new goldene medina (golden land).Just as Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes spoke to readers of diverse ethnic backgrounds, The Red Heifer speaks to The Holocaust, taking place from the pogroms.

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