Jewish-American author Herman Wouk dead at 103

Herman Wouk, whose Jewish life inspired many of his works, dies in California 10 days shy of his 104th birthday.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

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Jewish American Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk died on Friday at the age of 103.

Wouk was just 10 days shy of his 104th birthday and was working on a book until the end, said his literary agent Amy Rennert, according to The Associated Press.

Rennert said Wouk died in his sleep at his home in Palm Springs, California, where he settled after spending many years in Washington, D.C.

Wouk was born in the Bronx in 1915, the second of three children born to Esther and Abraham Isaac Wouk, Russian Jewish immigrants from what is today Belarus.

The household was religious — his mother was a rabbi’s daughter — and devoted to books. His father would read to him from Sholem Aleichem.

His Jewish faith inspired his stories of religious values and secular success.

Wouk won the Pulitzer in 1952 for The Caine Mutiny. A film adaptation, starring Humphrey Bogart, came out in 1954 and Wouk turned the courtroom scene into the play The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.

Other highlights included Don’t Stop the Carnival, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

One of Wouk’s most influential books was This Is My God, published in 1959 and an even-handed but firm defense of Judaism. For much of his life, noted AP, he studied the Talmud daily and led a weekly Talmud class. He gave speeches and sermons around the country and received several prizes, including a lifetime achievement award from the Jewish Book Council.

During his years in Washington, the Georgetown synagogue he attended was known unofficially as “Herman Wouk’s synagogue.”

His book Marjorie Morningstar, published in 1955, was one of the first million-selling novels about Jewish life, and two novels, The Hope and The Glory, were set in Israel.

In 1945, Wouk married Betty Sarah Brown, who also served as his agent. They had three sons– Nathaniel, Joseph and Abraham, who drowned in 1951.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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