AN ORPHAN'S TALE by Jay Neugeboren


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Because ""they don't make orphans like they used to,"" it's important for some orphans to stick together, especially Jewish orphans, who are already ""an endangered species."" These are the sentiments of twelve-year-old Danny Ginsberg who runs away from the Maimonides Home for Jewish Boys in Brooklyn to seek out a former graduate and one-time athlete, Charlie Sapisstein, now a real estate salesman who also makes rent collections in Danny's neighborhood. Charlie is too busy making money and too disaffilated to practice his religion but he does maintain cultural ties with a group of Maimonides alumni who represent a kind of core family which shelters Danny for a while. The sudden death of the group's most religious member and the shiva which ensues forces the group to confront their Jewishness and serves to fasten the bond which has developed between Danny and Charlie. Much of the action is related by means of Danny's diary and he is just too precocious and introspective, too much the formulator of Talmudic questions, maker of phrases--delightful though they are--to be altogether believable as a twelve-year-old Bar Mitzvah student. But Neugeboren spins such a subtle, fragile web that we are willingly drawn in and of course you don't have to be Jewish to like it.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1976
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston