"Kaufman’s voice is original, kindhearted, and funny."—Jewish Week
"With a sharp wit, detail, and a colorful life to draw experiences from, Kaufman has written a winner that epitomizes the oddities found in Jewish life."—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
"Kaufman, with a crisp voice, tempered charm, and good old fashioned cheek, masterfully brings to the page vivid and delightful portraits of those characters who made such rich and firm impressions on the already colorful fabric of his formative years. . . . A late bloomer he may be, but William Kaufman and his collection were well worth the wait."—Moment Magazine
William Kaufman grew up on his mother’s kugel and his father’s boyhood stories. The son of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and the Ukraine and one of five children, he learned how to translate his colorful childhood into tales of his own, regaling audiences of family, friends, and eventually his retirement community with periodic public readings. Now, at the age of 93, Kaufman makes his stories, filled with a sharp wit and telling detail, available to a wider audience for the first time.
In the title story a young Jewish boy is shamed by his narrow-minded teacher when she forces him to admit, before the whole class, that his mother cannot read English. His mother’s eventual encounter with the teacher offers a lesson in self-respect with just the right balance of grace and moxie. In “The Search for God in the A & P” a young boy goes on a clandestine mission to compare prices at his father’s grocery competition; the expedition meets with comic results when the young boy refuses to be bullied in this David-and-Goliath-style parable. These semi-autobiographical stories, populated with outsized and magnetic characters, subtly layer the specifics of the Jewish experience with universals dilemmas of childhood, growing up, and old age.
William D. Kaufman’s stories have also appeared in Forward, Moment, and Columbia Magazine. Kaufman was a professional fund-raiser at the Jewish Theological Seminary until his retirement.
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