Synopses & Reviews
Chaya, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, lives in the old Jewish quarter of Antwerp, Belgium. She is twenty years old, a philosophy student, and a nonbeliever. During the day, to support herself, she takes care of the children of an Orthodox family. At night she stays up reading - Nietzsche, Einstein, the Baal Shem Tov. But the more she reads, the less she seems to understand: "Was a divine father or a slimy amoeba at our cradle? Why do we live? And if we truly aspire to good, how is it that we cause so much misery?" Chaya questions the reasons for anti-Semitism throughout history, the role of women in Judaism, the reasons for suffering .... Mr. Apfelschnitt, an old friend of her father, tells Chaya that creation is a masterpiece, and that Science cannot replace God or the Torah. Her father advises her to study something more practical, like physics. Then he goes back to his old maps of Antwerp, trying to locate the exact spot where he buried two suitcases during the war. Chaya's mother wants her to go out dancing. Always trying to put her Auschwitz past behind her, she compulsively busies herself with cake-baking, tea, and weaving. Finally, it is Chaya's love for the three-year-old boy in her care that provides the key. Chaya clashes with his tradition-bound father, confronts an anti-Semitic concierge, and then, propelled by a tragic accident, learns just how much she is bound up with her people and faith.