Topics for Further Study

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When did Jewish people settle in large numbers in New York City? Describe the Jewish communities in New York City or in another large American city. In what way can ‘‘The Magic Barrel’’ be read as a story about the descendants of immigrants?

In chapter twenty of the Book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses sets forth the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. Do the characters in ‘‘The Magic Barrel’’ follow the Commandments? What does this say about them?

What does the story suggest about the relation between love and self-knowledge? What must Leo Finkle learn about himself before he is truly able to love?

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