The third of six children in a family that harks back to a gloried Hassidic dynasty, Judy Brown grew up with the legacy of centuries of religious teaching, and the faith and lore that sustained her people for generations. But her carefully constructed world begins to crumble when her "crazy" brother Nachum returns home after a year in Israel living with relatives. Though supposedly "cured," he is still prone to retreating into his own mind or erupting in wordless rages. The adults' inability to make him better - or even to give his affliction a name - forces Judy to ask larger questions: If God could perform miracles for her sainted ancestors, why can't He cure Nachum? And what of the other stories her family treasured?