The Chimney Tree

The Chimney Tree

by Helaine Helmreich


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592640317
Publisher: Toby Press LLC, The
Publication date: 05/01/2004
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.75(w) x (h) x 1.74(d)

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions from the Publisher
1. Jews and Christians lived in close proximity to each other in Poland. Based on other books you may have read, how common was it for a relationship like the one between Miriam and Tadeusz to develop? And is it likely that other such things went on undiscovered?

2. Do you think Miriam should have accepted the decision made by her parents to marry her off to Berish?

3. Should she have stayed as long as she did before fleeing to Warsaw?

4. Since he was obviously insane, why was Berish's family so supportive of him? How far does family loyalty go in such instances?

5. The Rutner family suffered so much in Dubnitz at the hands of the Nazis. Yet their faith never wavered. Why do you think this was so?

6. Do you think you could have retained your faith under these circumstances?

7. Do you think that the religious Jews who inhabited Miriam's world, ever wondered why God allowed them to suffer so much, while their fellow Jews who immigrated to America before the war, were saved?

8. In your opinion, was Reuben more of a pragmatist or more of a romantic?

9. Elvedchka adopted, at times, a hostile attitude towards Miriam, especially with respect to Marya. Why then, did she bother to save Miriam?

10. How do you think Miriam's life might have turned out had she gone to Israel instead of America?

11. Given what happened to her,was she better off in America?

12. If Miriam had assimilated more in America, would she have been less likely to have been reunited with Reuben?

13. How do you judge Rebecca's personality? Was she selfish? Self absorbed?

14. How do you think her upbringing affected her?

15. Based on what you have read, do you think the Zwillingers really lived happily after they were reunited in Israel, or were the different experiences after the war too much for them to bridge?

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