Cover reveal! The Chosen meets Darius the Great in this irreverent and timely story of worlds colliding in friendship, betrayal, and hatred.
Hoodie Rosen has recently moved to the town of Tregaron, where members of his Orthodox Jewish community are looking to build a new home. But the town’s mayor and many of the people who live there aren’t all that thrilled about it, and are in fact blocking them at every turn. Hoodie isn’t so bothered, though–he’s leaving the worrying to the adults who spend their days thusly engaged. He’s got studies at the yeshiva to avoid, basketball to play, and a supermarket full of delicious imported British kosher Starbursts to eat.
But when he meets–and falls for–Anna-Marie Diaz-O’Leary, he discovers a couple of minor problems. First, as a good yeshiva boy, he’s not really supposed to talk to girls, especially girls who aren’t Jewish. And second, Anna-Marie’s mother just so happens to be Tregaron’s mayor and the leader of the effort to stop Hoodie’s community from living in the town.
Hoodie’s family, friends, and rabbis all see his friendship with Anna-Marie as a betrayal of their traditions–he’s siding with the enemy, they say, the people who are against them. And with the weight of centuries of Jewish oppression on their shoulders, that’s not something they take lightly. But Hoodie doesn’t understand why everyone can’t just get along. After all, isn’t befriending Anna-Marie a great way to bring the sides together?
When a string of antisemitic crimes comes to Tregaron, though, Hoodie finds himself caught between two worlds. And when those crimes escalate to deadly violence–the kind with hate-filled manifestos, carefully picked targets, and fully loaded guns–the town and its factions must all face the truth, Hoodie included.
In this ripped-from-the-headlines story, debut author Isaac Blum delivers a perfect blend of wry, witty writing and a deeply important topic that will resonate well beyond the community it describes.
Scroll down to see the cover and read a sneak peek of The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum, coming to shelves September 13, 2022!
Artist: Dana Ledl (Instagram: @myokard_)
Cover/jacket design: Anna Booth
in which I celebrate Tu B’Av by taking the first step toward my own ruination,
Later, I tried to explain to Rabbi Moritz why it was ironic that my horrible crime was the thing that saved the whole community. He didn’t get it, either because he was too angry, or because his head was filled with other thoughts, or because the man has no sense of humor.
I don’t think it’s funny now—it ruined my life, put me in intensive care, and humiliated me and my family on a global scale. But I found it funny at the time.
It all started on Tu B’Av, which is one of the more obscure Jewish holidays. I’m Orthodox, but even I couldn’t recall what the holiday was about. I only remembered when I looked out the window and saw the girl in white. She was on the sidewalk across the street.
I was in halacha class, learning about Jewish law. We were talking about ritual hand-washing. Rabbi Moritz paced back and forth in front of the whiteboard, reading from the Shulchan Aruch, making the occasional Hebrew or English note on the board.
I was a little distracted because Moshe Tzvi was slurping cereal next to me, and a little distracted because Ephraim Reznikov was reading his copy of the Shulchan Aruch out loud but out of sync with Rabbi Moritz. But I was mostly distracted trying to remember what the heck Tu B’Av was about.
I couldn’t ask my buddy Moshe Tzvi because he would make fun of me for not knowing. Moshe Tzvi studies really hard, and he makes you feel like an ignorant schmuck if you aren’t as learned as he is. So I just stared out the window as though the answer would be out on the street. And then it was.
Because now the girl was dancing, making various motions with her hands, swinging her body around in little circles.
Which made me remember that Tu B’Av had something to do with dancing girls and the grape harvest—the grape harvest was pretty big back in biblical times. During the grape harvest, all the unmarried girls of Jerusalem went out into the vineyards where the harvest was happening, and they danced, wearing only plain white robes. Because all these girls were wearing plain white robes, the boys didn’t know if the girls were rich or poor, or even which tribe they were from. It created a level playing field, and the boys could choose a wife without thinking about if she was poor, or if she was from some undesirable rival tribe.
The girl outside wasn’t wearing a white robe, because it was the twenty-first century. She wore a white T-shirt, its short sleeves revealing skinny arms. The shirt ended just above a pair of shorts that left most of her legs exposed. The legs ended at a pair of white Adidas sneakers, striped blue.
She was dancing. But why was she dancing? There was nobody on the sidewalk with her but a small white dog. I thought it was strange behavior, but maybe gentile girls danced for their dogs all the time. I had no idea. I wasn’t supposed to look at gentile girls. I guess there were Jewish girls who dressed that way too, but certainly not any I knew. And if she was a Jewish girl dressed like that, I wasn’t allowed to look at her either.