How does religion (both Catholicism and the Jewish tradition) influence Michael in Snow in August?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Michael is the son of Irish Catholic parents. His parents' beliefs, faith, kindness, and courage are a great influence on Michael. Their Catholic beliefs are the first that influence him to be pure in heart and loving. It is his mother's courage, rooted in her Catholic faith, that opens the way for him to explore and embrace the new world he finds.

He refused ... revealing the source of the luminous light. He would wait. ... Be good. Be pure. ... He could hear the ... catechism teachers as clearly as he could hear Shazam.

Rabbi Hirsch introduces Michael to the Jewish belief in the power of the Word and of History. It is these powers that influence the awakening of his compassion for ideas and people outside himself. Michael finds the richer historic world of Judaism, especially Kabbalahic tradition, a great influence on his desires and actions, especially those that will direct his future life, such as education. Of course, also, it is the influence of Judaism that leads him to help Rabbis Hirsch and Lowe call up the Golem with the words and history of the Kabbalah.

"The Golem," Rabbi Hirsch answered. "The word, it means in dictionary English, like a robot. But the English word, you know, is not really true. ... the Golem has another meaning." [...] And by saying the correct words from the Kabbalah, he could bring the mud to life.
That is, through the wisdom of God, he could make the Golem.

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danyaljaved7 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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yo what is the main problem of the story and the 5 main characters in the novel and give a description about them


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mstokes | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The action of the book takes place in 1947. It is set in Brooklyn, NY post World War II. The story weaves together episodes from the lives of 11 year old Irish-American Michael Devlin and a refugee of war, named Rabbi Judah Hirsch. Together Michael and Rabbi Hirsh Form an unlikely bond of friendship which depicts the true oneness of all humankind. This story is a beautiful parable of the inherent goodness of mankind and the ability of the human spirit to overcome evil.
The story opens during a blizzard of epic proportions. Michael Devlin is on his way through the treacherous, deserted, streets of his working-class Brooklyn neighbourhood to serve as Altar boy at Mass. He is battling his way through fierce snow drifts when he hears a small accented voice asking for help. It is the voice of Rabbi Judah Hirsch. He wants Michael to enter the Synagogue and turn on the light switch. It is Shabbos and therefore the Rabbi is not permitted to turn on the light himself. From that one simple act, Michael enters the Rabbi’s world. It is a world full of mystery and magic.

I think the most valuable lesson he learns is that there are all types of people in the world, with many varying beliefs that sustain them in crisis but the enduring truths are that we should stand up against the forces of evil. The only thing which allows evil to thrive is for good men, of all religions and creeds, to do nothing.

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