Kinships – by Gabriel H. Shohet

The Lithuanian-born physician, Gabriel H. Shohet, MD (1892-1976) devoted his spare time to writing a book called Kinships, based on the belief that "fundamental ties unite all men."

He set the semi-autobiographical work in a small New England city of the early decades of the 20th century (the author's adopted hometown of Portland, Maine).

Shohet, the son of a rabbi, and Hebrew tutor in his youth, strove to write fiction in the "powerful, delving, yet poetic style of the Eastern European 19th century Talmudic scholars", his own forebears. The many allusions in the work to Biblical writings and Hebraic and Talmudic literature are the vehicles to express his "aching yearnings for the land of his childhood, fused with a glowing paean to that glorious beacon, "Mother America," of the early 1900's". 

By Shohet's account, one of the most moving passages explores "the relationships of a rabbi with his G-d, his wife, and his "flock". The novel's main idea, however, is that we must "rekindle our belief and confidence in America's promise". In becoming "American", Shohet fought nostalgia for the Líta to absorb in totality the younger nation's social customs, mores, pride, optimism, and politics, with the understanding that, somehow, in this great, new universe, this "shining America", an immigrant Jew would find his place. 

On the 20th-century literary scene, Shohet would not succeed. His novel was turned down by several U.S. trade publishers - either "too Jewish" for its Yankee setting, or not ethnic enough for a niche appeal. How could a Jewish immigrant penetrate the underpinnings of New England society? How could a nice Jewish doctor from Boston be both a non-conformist and an optimist about "man's inner sensibilities, spiritual qualities, and metaphysical questionings as to his place"?  To which choir did this man preach?

Shohet had his own ideas about what was too "controversial or offensive" in his work. "Is it the chapter on Judaism," he asked one publisher bluntly, "or the 'Wisdom of the Stars' bit that is out of kilter?" The tepid response was always that the story did not have mass appeal. 

A half-century after the only good copy of Shohet's manuscript made the rounds, it has been digitized and made available in hopes that, to borrow the author's own expression, "the recognition of its flaws are tempered by that of its virtues." Shohet longed for his "life's work", his "soul child" to reach "a real editor, one with understanding." Through new channels of communication and a new type of nostalgia for the immigrant experience, Shohet might finally reach an audience larger than his adoring daughter Estelle, who dedicated her own labored study on shared symbols among ancient cultures to her father, "and his belief in kinships on a human and cosmic scale".

- Jessica Dello Russo (Hanukkah, 2017)    Every individual perceives the world differently, and some face unique hurdles in processing sensory inputs. Sensory Processing Challenges can influence how a person, especially children, interprets sensory information, leading to possible miscommunication or misunderstandings. Being aware of these challenges and offering support can make a world of difference in their daily experiences.

Table of Contents

Part One - School Days

Chapter 1: His Father's Voice KinshipsBook1Chapter1
Chapter 2: Miss McDowell KinshipsBook1Chapter2
Chapter 3: The Heavy Hand KinshipsBook1Chapter3
Chapter 4: From the Depths of My Salvation KinshipsBook1Chapter4
Chapter 5: Clara KinshipsBook1Chapter5

Part Two: Shadow and Substance

Chapter 1: The Old Tower KinshipsBook2Chapter1
Chapter 2: Wallace Barton, Editor KinshipsBook2Chapter2
Chapter 3: And God Said, "Let there be Fire!" KinshipsBook2Chapter3
Chapter 4: The Prodigal KinshipsBook2Chapter4
Chapter 5: A Dedicated Hour KinshipsBook2Chapter5&6
Chapter 6: A Moment Dedicated to a Mother KinshipsBook2Chapter5&6
Chapter 7: Virgin or Coward KinshipsBook2Chapter7
Chapter 8: Shadow and Substance of Sex KinshipsBook2Chapter8
Chapter 9: Creation and Decay KinshipsBook2Chapter9
Chapter 10: Pacific Street KInshipsBook2Chapter10

Part Three: Adolescence

Chapter 1: 1911 KinshipsBook3Chapter1
Chapter 2: Blanca KinshipsBook3Chapter2
Chapter 3: At the Grave KinshipsBook3Chapter3
Chapter 4: Mr. Forrest Has Compulsions  KinshipsBook3Chapter4
Chapter 5: Mr. Black & Mr. Forrest KinshipsBook3Chapter5
Chapter 6: Will You Remember? KinshipsBook3Chapter6

Part 4: Heritage

Chapter 1: Talmudic Tomes KinshipsBook4Chapter1
Chapter 2: The Year 1883 KinshipsBook4Chapter2
Chapter 3: Nechemiah KinshipsBook4Chapter3
Chapter 4: World Without Shadows KinshipsBook4Chapter4

Book 5: They Had the Likeness of Man, Every One with Four Faces

Chapter 1: Mr. Black Shows a White Hand KinshipsBook5Chapter1
Chapter 2: Summer Lyrics KinshipsBook5Chapter2
Chapter 3: 1911 KinshipsBook5Chapter3
Chapter 4: The Crux of the Matter KinshipsBook5Chapter4
Chapter 5: The Likeness of Man KinshipsBook5Chapter5
Chapter 6: Kinships KinshipsBook5Chapter6

Part 6: Love

Chapter 1: The Challenge KinshipsBook6Chapter1
Chapter 2: The Hob Turns Gentleman KinshipsBook6Chapter2
Chapter 3: The Day After Tomorrow KinshipsBook6Chapter3
Chapter 4: When Old Friends Meet KinshipsBook6Chapter4
Chapter 5: A Brief Farewell KinshipsBook6Chapter5

Part 7: Solomon

Chapter 1: Between Two Worlds KinshipsBook7Chapter1
Chapter 2: Of Thee I Sing KinshipsBook7Chapter2
Chapter 3: Saturday Night KinshipsBook7Chapter3

Part Eight: Summer's End

Chapter 1: The Game KinshipsBook8Chapter1
Chapter 2: Orbits and Seasons KinshipsBook8Chapter2
Chapter 3: Harold Impresses KinshipsBook8Chapter3

Part Nine: The Facade

Chapter 1: Spring Again KinshipsBook9Chapter1
Chapter 2: Parting Rites KinshipsBook9Chapter2
Chapter 3: Reconciliation KinshipsBook9Chapter3
Chapter 4: Tonight and After KinshipsBook9Chapter4

Part Ten: College Days

Chapter 1: Mother Campus KinshipsBook10Chapter1
Chapter 2: Life & Liberty on the College Campus KinshipsBook10Chapter2
Chapter 3: Monday Night KinshipsBook10Chapter3
Chapter 4: The Soul & the Flesh KinshipsBook10Chapter3
Chapter 5: Alone Tonight KinshipsBook10Chapter5

Part Eleven: Life is in Moments

Chapter 1: Post Election KinshipsBook11Chapter1
Chapter 2: Shining Stars KinshipsBook11Chapter2
Chapter 3: Herman "Dutchy" Kennard KinshipsBook11Chapter3

Part Twelve: Retribution

Chapter 1: Homecoming KinshipsBook9Chapter4
Chapter 2: His Mother KinshipsBook12Chapter2
Chapter 3: It Came to Pass KinshipsBook12Chapter3

Book Thirteen: The Challenge

Chapter 1: The Moment KinshipsBook13Chapter1

Book Fourteen: Infinity

Chapter 1: At the End of Days KinshipsBook14Chapter1

Book Fifteen: The Web of Living

Chapter 1: One of Them KinshipsBook15Chapter1
Chapter 2: It's the Thing KinshipsBook15Chapter2
Chapter 3: When We Dance KinshipsBook15Chapter3
Chapter 4: If You Live At All KinshipsBook15Chapter4
Chapter 6 (5): At the Campus: KinshipsBook15Chapter6 
Chapter 7: The Pact KinshipsBook15Chapter7
Chapter 8: Cause & Effect KinshipsBook15Chapter8
Chapter 9: Time is a Fool KinshipsBook15Chapter9

Epilogue: KinshipsEpilogue

Author's Note KinshipsIntro
Letter to Macmillan (Publisher) KinshipsLetter