Playing Till We Have to Go: A Jewish childhood in inner-city L.A. by Larry Derfner

Playing Till We Have to Go: A Jewish childhood in inner-city L.A. by Larry Derfner

Writing with the deep humanity that infuses his journalism, Larry Derfner vividly brings to life a forgotten moment in black-Jewish relations, when Holocaust survivor families and African American families lived, worked, played and fought together in the same area of L.A, yet remained truly apart. A poignant memoir that comes at a particularly charged moment in America’s racial relations. – YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI, Senior Fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute and author, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.”

Derfner’s memoir captures the struggles of his family, first in New York City, then in Los Angeles, and his own years growing up tough and smart, with a keen view of his surroundings. His depiction of Jews in the 1950s and early 60s is vivid and fascinating. – SUSANNAH HESCHEL, Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College.

This memoir of immigrant Jewish life with Blacks and Asians in L.A. during the early 1960s is riveting. In prose that seems influenced by Hemingway, Salinger and Otis Redding, it seduces the reader with a vision of America as vivid and loving as it is tragic, disappointed and mournful. A powerful, autobiographical, R&B song of a book. – GABRIEL NOAH BRAUM, Professor of English and World Literature, Northern Michigan University and University of Haifa.

Year first published: 2020

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