Yom Kippur in Amsterdam

Stories


Yom Kippur in Amsterdam
by Maxim D. Shrayer
©2009
6x9, 152 pages

Cloth: 978-0-8156-0918-6
Paper: 978-0-8156-0998-8

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Excerpt
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In Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, Maxim D. Shrayer traces various obsessions and aspirations of Soviet immigrants in America. As Shrayer worked on these stories, he kept asking himself: Why is it that in America Soviet Jews and their children have been so successful professionally (think, for instance, of the inventor of Google), and yet have not been fully integrated or acculturated as either Jews or Americans? There is humor and tenderness in these tales, and also heartbreak and nostalgia. There are boundaries of ethnicity, religion, and culture that Shrayer’s characters desperately try, yet often fail, to cross.

In the title story you will meet Jake Glaz (formerly Yasha Glazman), a young Jewish man apprehensive about marrying a Catholic woman. When he realizes she will not convert, Jake leaves the United States to spend Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, “a beautiful place for a Jew to atone.” In creating his characters, Shrayer explored what it feels like to be wrestling with the mix of prosperity, professional pride, cultural loneliness, and insecurity that defines the lives of many ex-Soviet Jews. Yom Kippur in Amsterdam offers a collective portrait of Jews in America who are struggling to come to terms with ghosts of their Soviet pasts.

 

Reviews

"Give another cheer for immigration, which has give us the unique voice of Maxim Shrayer...a sense of longing suffuses all the stories....the exquisitely precise vocabulary manages to locate these characters in the present..."
MultiCultural Review

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