Daniel M. Jaffe

Yeled Tov

In 1974, teenager Jake Stein wants to be a good Jewish boy. But, he finds himself struggling to reconcile his traditional beliefs and strong faith in God with his growing attraction to other boys. After he lands a part in the school play, The Diary of Anne Frank, he falls in love with the boy who’s playing the romantic lead. The following year, at Princeton University, Jake suffers ever greater temptations and angst.

This novel offers readers a compelling young hero trying to walk a path between desire and devotion, often with advice from the voice of God, or at least the voice Jake imagines the Almighty would have when instructing a young man to do the right thing.

Readers' reactions:

“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

"It's an excellent read that captures, openly and honestly, the pain of growing up 'different,' learning to understand and accept ourselves for who we are, and recognizing that we are still lovable, despite it all. Bravo to the author for putting the story out there for readers to devour." Cindy on Goodreads.

“As I started to write this review, I learned that Philip Roth had died….And it struck me certain parallels existed between Roth and Daniel M. Jaffe. Some of the same themes exist in their work, especially the exploration of the ‘promiscuous instincts’ Roth has written about…. Those instincts are on full display in Jaffe’s latest work, Yeled Tov.… Jaffe takes on Jake’s story with a keen eye for detail and a good ear for dialogue. Jake’s discussions with God are very well done, and the one near the end of the book will bring a tear to your eye as both he and God come to peace with each other. It did mine, anyway. And I’m an atheist.” Out-in-Print (Jerry Wheeler).

"There is so much to like in this book and first among those is the plot that shows Jaffe’s own familiarity with Judaism yet while this is a book about a Jewish guy there is no need to be Jewish to enjoy it.... Jaffe’s dialogue is excellent and is his character development....Jake’s conversations with God are amazing and as you near the end of the book, you should be prepared to shed a few tears." Reviews by Amos Lassen.

Selected Works

Daniel's newest novel follows a teenager's struggle to integrate his gay and Jewish identities. Can he be true to his desires while still being a good Jew?
In this novel-in-stories, the narrator explores different ways of adapting Jewish tradition to the modern world.
Daniel's short story collection examines many aspects of contemporary gay-Jewish life.
A year after the death of his Holocaust-surviving grandmother, Dave Miller leaves Boston for Amsterdam, the home of Anne Frank, whom his Grandma revered. Dave, feeling undeserving to confront the suffering that Grandma endured, cannot bring himself to visit Anne Frank's house. Angry at himself and the world, Dave seeks out risky erotic trysts that mix sacred ritual with profane hedonism. Then he meets Alexander, a sexually reserved Dutchman of Indonesian heritage, who has identity conflicts of his own. The relationship shakes both men's lives to their core.

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