For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Conversion of the Jews”

Philip Roth


“That’s when I asked the question.”

Itzie’s face lit up. “Whatja ask about—intercourse?”

“No, I asked the question about God, how if He could create the heaven and earth in six days, and make all the animals and the fish and the light in six days—the light especially, that’s what always gets me, that He could make the light.  Making fish and animals, that’s pretty good—”

“That’s damn good.” Itzie’s appreciation was honest but unimaginative: it was as though God had just pitched a one-hitter.

“But making light... I mean when you think about it, it’s really something,” Ozzie said. “Anyway, I asked Binder if He could make all that in six days, and He could pick the six days he wanted right out of nowhere, why couldn’t He let a woman have a baby without having intercourse.”

“You said intercourse, Ozz, to Binder?”


“Right in class?”


Itzie smacked the side of his head.