Potok's novel The Chosen concerns the tensions of living a religious life in a secular society. This conflict is reflected through an examination of two Jewish communities in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York. Two Jewish boys, an ultra-religious Hasidic Jew named Danny Saunders and a Modern Orthodox Jew named Reuven (Roo ven) Malter, discuss the realities of trying to be committed, religiously observant Jews in a secular American society. The main theme in the novel is Danny's conflict between his desire for secular knowledge and his obligations to his father, Rabbi Saunders, and his father's followers.Reuven Malter is the son of Modern Orthodox Jew and teacher David Malter. Even though the elder Malter is religiously observant, he encourages Reuven to explore nonreligious thought. Thus Reuven is thoroughly acquainted with Western secular tradition. But Reuven has conflicts of his own. His
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