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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 270

• One of the pagan rabbi’s preoccupations, based on the notebook he leaves behind, is with Romantic poetry. Find out more about the literary style, known as Romanticism, which reached its height in the early nineteenth century. The story mentions some of the best-known Romantic poets, such as Byron, Keats...

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• One of the pagan rabbi’s preoccupations, based on the notebook he leaves behind, is with Romantic poetry. Find out more about the literary style, known as Romanticism, which reached its height in the early nineteenth century. The story mentions some of the best-known Romantic poets, such as Byron, Keats and Tennyson. What is the preoccupation of Romantic poetry with nature? How do the poems of these writers portray nature in relation to such spiritual concerns as the soul?

• Sheindal Kornfeld, the wife of the pagan rabbi, is a Holocaust survivor who was born in a concentration camp. Find out more about the experiences of children in concentration camps, and the stories of Holocaust survivors who themselves were children in concentration camps. How did their experiences affect their sense of spirituality and of Jewish identity?

• Rabbi Kornfeld and Sheindal Kornfeld are Orthodox Jews. Learn more about the marriage laws and traditions of Orthodox Judaism. How do they differ from the marital laws and tradition practices by Conservative Judaism? Reform Judaism?

• The god Pan, associated with paganism, comes from Greek mythology. Learn more about Greek mythology and the stories that are derived from Greek mythology. What is the significance of these ancient stories to dilemmas of the modern reader in modern society? What is their enduring appeal to the modern reader?

• In his philosophical musings, the character Rabbi Isaac Kornfeld mentions the philosophers Socrates, Spinoza, Nietzsche, and Hegel. Find out more about one of these philosophers. What are the basic themes and tenets of his philosophy? In what ways do they address concerns similar to those raised in the short story?

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