Song About Pity: The Kehilla, in the 1930s – Instant Read

SKU: 978-1956381450-1 Categories: , ,


“Song about Pity”, written by the Czech/ Israeli author and diplomat, Avigdor Dagan (1912-2006), portrays the life of a Jewish community in a small pre-war Czechoslovakia town during the economic downturn and drought in the 1930s.

The main protagonist, young Daniel Menasse, questions his family’s faith and traditions as he thinks about God and his plans and actions.

He has two wonderful grandfathers who are both profoundly religious. One views God as strict and harsh, whereas the other sees God as merciful and full of compassion.

Daniel listens to their deliberations, tries to understand the tragic events unfolding around him from both perspectives, but remains unsure of what the truth is.

Years after the war, Daniel returns for the first time to his childhood home to revive his memories and find solutions to his search. He is the only one from the entire Jewish community who survived the Holocaust, but his life experience does not help answer his philosophical questions. However, his journey back to his childhood home allows him to find meaning and gain new hope.

  • Author:  Avigdor Dagan
  • Translator: Patrik Munzar


1 review for Song About Pity: The Kehilla, in the 1930s – Instant Read

  1. 5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid and historically-accurate tale of youth’s search for meaning

    A view of village life in Czechoslovakia prior to WWII but in the context of the Nazi deaths to come to this village not long after. The writer and translator put you on the bank of a river while your uncle fishes, in his grandmother’s home as she peels an apple for you, or at his grandfather’s wise friend Phillips home as he repairs a broken window for a client. You can feel the hard earth of the farms long without rain and feel the angst of the villagers as they live day to day in uncertainty of about life as you follow the quest of a young man in search of understanding the meaning of it all.

    I love the first person rendering by Daniel as he goes about his life with his Jewish family. A highly sensitive young man, he digs deep into the meaning of everyday things to help him uncover what it means to live in uncertainty, the role that plays in his evolving view of God and God’s role for good and evil, and the tender-heartedness that can arise when a human cares deeply about his world and all of its suffering creatures.

    I love the preface and Epilogue that set the time, setting, and history clearly and profoundly without saying more and letting Daniel weave the tale of God’s existence in the light of daily village life and in the broad picture of WWII where the village lost all of its Jews except Daniel.

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