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Yeled Tov

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  22 ratings  ·  17 reviews
This summer: a new coming-of-age story set in 1974 from the acclaimed author of The Genealogy of Understanding.

Jake has often been told by his religious family that is a yeled tov, a good Jewish boy. They constantly urge him to succeed at schoolwork, encourage him to pray, and are proud of him. Yet everyone in Jake's life is unaware how he daydreams about touching the swea
Published by Lethe Press
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  22 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My heart is still hurting for Jake Stein, I tell you what. I started Yeled Tov, planning to read a few chapters in between chores. Instead, I ended up stuck on the couch and reading this book intensely. Daniel M. Jaffe's book is raw. It's an unapologetic trip into the mind of a boy who is not only told by his religion that the way he feels is unnatural, but also by society as whole. It's a story about hiding who you are, until you can't anymore. This book simply tore at my heart.

Jake's character
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is far out of my real world experience. I am not a Jewish boy nor am I gay. But I read to go into worlds about which I don’t know. Generally that is something like Elizabethan England but I’ve been trying to stretch my reading experiences. This book most certainly did that.

Jake is a young man who just wants to be a yeled tov – a good boy. He has been brought up in a religious house and he wants very much to please his parents, in particular his father. As he heads into his senior year
Kay Kuever
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Lately, I've been reading a lot of books that are set in the 70s (also possibly the era I was supposed to be born in) and are coming of age LGBTQIA stories and I've been absolutely loving them. Yeled Tov took this genre to the next level for me. My entire life, I've been super intrigued by religion, the history, the traditions, the interpretations. Though not religious myself, I've always had respect for those that were and loved understanding what about their religions they took the most to hea ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yeled Tov (a good Jewish boy) is a semi-autobiographical novel about "Jake Stein's" struggle to accept his homosexuality. It was no easy feat considering that Jake was raised in a semi-orthodox home where the bible implores "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind." Plus, it was the 70s, and "deviant" sexual behavior was rarely accepted or tolerated, and almost certainly never discussed.

You don't have to be Jewish or gay to feel Jake's pain. He is a lovable character, and despite the s
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being gay in the early 70s cannot have been easy for anyone, but for Jake, a young Jewish boy, it is especially hard in this fantastic coming-of-age novel. Jaffe not only writes well, the style itself is somewhat innocent, evoking a simpler (yet for LGBT+ people, a more troubled) time. It is impossible not to feel for Jake's struggle for self-acceptance, especially because this novel does not pull punches when it comes to showing some of Jake's most self-hating bad decisions. Stylistically, emot ...more
Joey Gremillion
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Nothing that has already been written before. BUT, the last section of the book picks up. Not terrible, but not great.
Sara Strand
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know this book doesn't grab you. I know you have no idea what this title means. I know together you're not sure what the heck is going on, but let me tell you this was a pretty interesting read especially if you are someone who works with the LGBTQ community and maybe don't know how a religious dynamic plays into that. Ok so let's be honest, this book isn't going to be for everyone. I almost gave up on it around the half way mark because it is SO SLOW. I consider myself a pretty fast reader bu ...more
Pamela Stennett
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing


Someone find me the Venn Diagram of Queer, Coming of Age, Jewish, Mental Health, and Pleasing-cum-Rebellion.

Oh, hold on a minute.

I think I found something.

No, no, this is not my autobiography.

It is right here and it is Daniel M. Jaffe’s amazing new book, Yeled Tov.

1974 finds sixteen-year-old Jake Stien in a bit of a fix, pitting his faith roots against his heart. It’s a tale as old as time itself in that Jeff’s struggles follow what many have before
I was drawn to the description of Yeled Tov because I continue to look for books to diversify my reading with lives and perspectives that differ from mine. Jake Stein, the main character in Yeled Tov, couldn't be more different from me. He is a Jewish teen, becoming a man in the seventies and struggling with reconciling his sexuality with his religious beliefs in a time and environment where to be homosexual is considered an abomination to God. Jake tries to be a yeled tov--a good boy--for himse ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tours
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for the copy in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll start by saying that I can see this not being for everyone. Yeled Tov – a good Jewish boy – is something that Jake Stein strives to be. However, growing up in a conservative Orthodox Jewish family he is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality. The 70’s were a time where the LGBTQ community had less acceptance and tolerance as it was seen as an abomination. I couldn’t imagine trying to find a
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
Yeled Tov is set during the 70s and is a coming of age story about a Jewish teenager named Jake. He is battling with his sexuality as his desire towards men continues to grow. He tries to figure out if he can still be a good Jewish boy while also being attracted to men. He feels much shame in who is and believes there is something very wrong with him.

This is such a powerful story. Jaffe shows what it is like to be torn between two worlds and displays the struggle in trying to do the right thing
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Jake Stein, the main character in Daniel M. Jaffe’s “Yeled Tov” (Lethe Press), would have been unable to imagine the world portrayed in Zeller and Fallenberg’s novels – one where homosexuality is accepted. In the 1970s, all Jake wants to be is a yeled tov, a good boy: “He didn’t swear using God’s name. He didn’t do homework on Shabbes. He tried hard to treat his parents with respect. He didn’t steal or murder or do anything bad. He ate only kosher food, put on teffilin and davened every morning, ...more
Michael H.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a coming out story, first and foremost, about a young man from a religious Jewish family who comes to terms with his sexuality over the course of two years. I laughed out loud many times and cried at the "crisis point," which I found deeply moving. Anyone who has had to "come out" will identify, and it would be a good read both for young adults and for the general reading population. My favorite device in the book is the ongoing "conversation" the protagonist has with God, which is at ti ...more
E.V. Legters
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel Jaffe's Yeled Tov unflinchingly addresses the pain of coming of age, of embracing one's whole self, in a society that, even today, is guilty of defining what's acceptable too narrowly. I couldn't help but think of Roxane Gay's Hunger in its eye-opening honesty. Please read and share this book with anyone who has experienced or is now struggling with any issue of identity. Jaffe confirms there is hope. ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
As a gay, Jewish man growing up in the 1970s I thought this story about a gay, Jewish man growing up in the 1970s would have some personal resonance. Unfortunately, this shallow and poorly written novel is just an empty exercise that says absolutely nothing. The best way to describe it is puerile—it feels as if it’s a 14 year old’s first attempt at writing fiction.
Sep 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - it is very good for people who are struggling with coming out, or who are struggling to reconcile religion and being gay. I also learnt a lot about the Jewish faith and the US education systems, and this book is excellent and sensitive on all fronts!
rated it liked it
Oct 27, 2019
Diane Lefer
It’s a simple premise: How does Jake Stein reconcile his desire to be a good Jewish boy with his desire for boys which his religion condemns as an abomination? What is so remarkable about Yeled Tov is how closely I was pulled into Jake’s earnest and obsessive thought processes. I don’t think I’ve ever read—regardless of gender or orientation--a more accurate portrayal of teenage sexual love fantasies, self-questioning, and despair. Jake’s attempts to make sense of himself (and God) and to date a ...more
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