Jewish Journal


January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger dies at 91—and was Jewish


“Catcher in the Rye” was a great book, an anthem for teen angst (what a wretched choice of words). But I was always more a fan of “Franny and Zooey;” in fact, it’s among my favorite books.

All I’ve ever known about their author, J.D. Salinger, and all I suspect most people knew about him, was that he was famous for being a great writer and for being more of a hermit than a Tibetan monk.

Based on that, I don’t know what news I found more surprising today: that Salinger had died at the age of 91 or that his father was Jewish and young J.D. had become bar mitzvah. From JTA:

The author was born in New York in 1919 to an assimilated Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother of Irish descent. Salinger’s father, Sol, was the son of a rabbi. He worked as an importer of ham and tried to get his son into the business, according to The New York Times, but the younger Salinger instead became a writer.

Read the NYT obit here.

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