Snow in August by Pete Hamill

I’ll admit before I start that I am prejudiced about tales of New York City. I was born there and raised there until I spread my wings to see a little more of the world. And no one writes with more passion about New York City than Pete Hamill.

This is a tale of Brooklyn and the multitude of ethnic groups that have always populated that borough. It is the story of 11-year-old Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch.  The time period is just after the end of WWII and many refugees have flooded the New World.

One day Michael passes by a synagogue when the Rabbi opens the door and asks Michael to do a favor for him. Would he turn on a light switch? Michael is hesitant, but he does it and he is thanked although he can’t understand why he was asked to do this simple task.  Although Michael’s friends warn him to stay away from the ‘Jews’ Michael is fascinated by the Rabbi. And soon a friendship blossoms as Michael learns what it means to be a’ Shabbos Goy ‘–a friendly non-Jew who assists the religious Jew on Saturday, the Sabbath.

Michael is bright and inquisitive and soon they are meeting on a regular basis. He is teaching Rabbi Hirsch English and about the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Michael is learning Yiddish from his new friend. As this relationship flourishes, events are brewing in the neighborhood that will draw the Rabbi and Michael closer together.

This is a beautiful tale of a friendship and a period of history that in many ways changed the world forever. Please enjoy Snow in August  by Pete Hamill.

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