The Schmooze

A House Divided

Matthew Shaer is the author of “Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights.” His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


In my last blog post, I wrote about the genesis of my book, “Among Righteous Men,” and the emotional connection I often felt to Crown Heights, the Brooklyn neighborhood where the book is set.

Suffice to say that the sense of connection did not last forever, at least not in that unalloyed state. As time wore on, and I spent increasingly more time in the neighborhood, the epiphanic moments — I think of them now as moments of sheer electricity — became less common. Sometimes, they were replaced sometimes by more ordinary joys: tours through rambling Crown Heights homes, evenings in the storefront shuls and grand temples, sprawling meals with gracious hosts, small gifts of kindness from strangers who have since become friends.

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A House Divided

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