• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: Lethe Press (April 18, 2018)
As he’s about to turn 16 in the mid-1970’s, Jake Stein notices a prohibition in Leviticus that never caught his eye before: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.” This discovery distresses Jake, an observant Jewish teen, because he’s recently been feeling increased attraction to other teen boys and men. He’s even been engaging in sexual exploration with his best friend. In an attempt to distract himself, Jake joins his high school’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, but falls in love with the romantic male lead, obsessively fantasizing about him. Jake feels lonelier than ever.
The next year, while a freshman at Princeton University, Jake falls for his handsome roommate, is beset by serious temptations, and engages in a traumatic sexual encounter with a stranger. Seeking help from God, Jake tries to alter his desires, even dates a young Jewish woman in the hopes that she can change him, but to no avail. Jake concludes that God could never love an abomination like him, so he attempts to prove his faith by ending his own life.
After he’s saved by his roommate, Jake receives unexpected support from doctors, family, and friends, some of whom have been suspecting his secret. With their help, Jake explores a different way of thinking about the rules of Torah and himself, and begins to consider that he might actually be a yeled tov, a good Jewish boy, just the way he is.
Praise for Yeled Tov
“Jaffe writes in a polished prose style…locating Jake’s conflict in the particulars of Judaism and Jewish culture, while also presenting a story that will feel relatable to a wide audience…. An empathetic story of faith and desire.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for previous works
“Jaffe is a marvelous storyteller.” –Congregational Libraries Today
“Jaffe has a particular gift for capturing the complicated emotional currents swirling around coming out.” —Out in Print
“Jaffe is unquestionably a gifted writer with much to say in a voice that is rarely heard.” —Xfactor
About Daniel M. Jaffe
Daniel M. Jaffe is an award-winning, internationally published fiction and essay writer. His novel-in-stories, THE GENEALOGY OF UNDERSTANDING, was a finalist and honorable mention for the Rainbow Awards; and his novel, THE LIMITS OF PLEASURE, was a finalist for a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award. He is author of JEWISH GENTLE AND OTHER STORIES OF GAY JEWISH LIVING, and compiler/editor of WITH SIGNS AND WONDERS: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF JEWISH FABULIST FICTION. Also, Daniel translated the Russian-Israeli novel, HERE COMES THE MESSIAH! by Dina Rubina. Read more at www.danieljaffe.com.