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My Name is Asher Lev

Chaim Potok

Chapter 14

Chapter 13

Chapter 14, page 2

page 1 of 2

So as not to worry his parents too much, Asher does not tell them details about his travel plans. He returns home to an empty house, but calls the Rebbe's assistant to find out that they are at the University of Chicago for a couple of days. The next morning, his parents call to let him know they will be arriving later in the day. He walks around the streets of his community and runs into Yudel Krinsky. They go inside Krinsky's shop and chat, just like old times. He stops into his Uncle Yitzchok's store to say hello. Yitzchok greets him warmly and asks if he can come to the show. He says he will come if there are no nudes. Asher assures him that there won't be. Asher feels uneasy, because he is certain Yitzchok will be disturbed by the crucifixions.

Asher calls Anna. She tells him that most of the work in the show will be sold by the time it opens. He arranges to meet her at the studio at three o'clock. Asher naps and dreams of his mythic ancestor once again. He awakens and rides into Manhattan. Asher asks Anna about the crucifixions. She says they will be the climax of the show. He tells her he is worried they will hurt people, and that that art does that sometimes and he should not trouble himself with concern.

Asher returns home and sees his parents. They are happy to see him and tell him about the projects in which they will be involved, bringing Judaism to college campuses. Asher's mother asks whether his father will be able to attend the show. Asher answers that he is displaying no nudes, so he can come. Asher imagines his parents in the gallery, coming to the end of the exhibition and seeing the paintings. He then imagines his mythic ancestor and feels a kinship with him.

Asher goes to visit an ailing Jacob Kahn, who has warm words of praise for him and for himself. Talking about Asher, he says that he "sculpted a David.…a breathing David." Asher speaks with Tanya for a moment and leaves, wishing Jacob better health.

Asher passes the Sabbath nervous in anticipation. His father discusses with him his life as a painter, taking a more interested and understanding tone. He reveals that a major Manhattan museum bought two of his paintings that week. He tells them they will see the paintings at the show.

The next day, Asher goes to the gallery early and sees how everything is hung. He is troubled by the crucifixions and cannot bear to look at them. Anna introduces Asher to many of her big customers who have come in for the show. The mobs begin to pour in and seem to love the show. Asher's parents arrive; he introduces them to Anna and begins to take them around. They arrive at the end and see the Crucifixion paintings and they are horrified. They storm out of the show and tell him he has crossed a line—they are too angry for further words.

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