Study Guide

The Golem and the Jinni Religion

By Helene Wecker


Religion is just as much a part of people's cultures as food and customs, and as a cultural melting pot, New York is home to many different ethno-cultural neighborhoods, restaurants of every origin, and myriad places of worship. The Golem and the Jinni hits a religious trifecta of late 19th-century beliefs in New York City: The Golem is closely intertwined with Jewish folklore, the Jinni lives in the Christian community of Little Syria, and Mahmoud Saleh is Muslim. After all, you can't have a melting pot without all the ingredients.

Questions About Religion

  1. Why do the Rabbi and Michael have a falling out over religious differences? Why can't the Rabbi accept his nephew's decision?
  2. Does the Jinni convince Arbeely to question his faith, or is Arbeely set in his ways? How can you tell?
  3. Why does the Jinni question religion when he himself is a supernatural creature?
  4. Would Michael and the Golem's marriage have been different if Michael were a religious man? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The characters with strong religious beliefs (Arbeely, the Rabbi) seem to have an easier time accepting the existence of the Golem and the Jinni than do the characters with less faith.

Michael sees religion as excluding non-believers, and his religion pretty much proves him right when his uncle disowns him for being a non-believer.