Novelist Chaim Potok died Tuesday at the age of 73. Potok was raised in the Orthodox Jewish tradition, was ordained as a rabbi, and later became a best-selling author of the novels The Chosen, The Promise and My Name is Asher Lev. Much of his writing explored the conflict between spiritual and secular worlds, a subject that earned him readers from all faiths. This interview first aired in 1986.
The author's newest book draws on his experiences as an Army chaplain during the Korean War. He discusses the impact war has on faith, as well as the allure the mystical tradition of Cabala has for some Jews.
Novelist Chaim Potok's most recent book, Wanderings, is a non-fiction history of Judaism. He talks about the tradition of the hybridization of Judaism with dominant cultures around the world, the exploration of identity in literature, and the trajectory of Western society.