In Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman, author of The Family Markowitz turns her pen to the intimate details of a close-knit Jewish summer community in the Catskills. Goodman's deft sense of character brings alive an appealing and engrossing cast, fleshed out by nuances of place and time.
The synagogue is crowded with men, and warm despite the November chill outside. When Isaac arrives for services on Friday evening, he sees neighbors and friends all clustered together in the entryway. The Kollel students are coming in from the little chapel where they study. Dressed alike in their rumpled black suits, carrying their great black-bound books, they pass through the crowd into the main sanctuary where the older men are arriving, businessmen coming from downtown, the storekeepers from the neighborhood, the retired grandfathers. Young and old mix together, and their languages mix: English and German, a little Hebrew, a little Yiddish. Isaac does not notice the mixture; he grew up with it, and he understands all the languages equally.
"Did you hear that the Rav is holding his office hours again?"
"No, I didn't know."
"He's holding them on Tuesdays again."
"The same hours?"
"Yes. Of course, he's limiting his visitors, but baruch hashem, he&...
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