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Korean War veteran Jerry Golding returns to his home in Philadelphia in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year with his parents, Ruth and David, and other family members. Jerry's arrival coincides with David's announcement that he will be retiring as cantor at Temple Sinai. Later, at a nightclub, Jerry is reunited with Judy Lane, a U.S.O. singer he met while in Korea, and meets her producer, George Miller. Miller is impressed with Jerry's talents as a performer and offers him a spot in Judy's show, but David, without consulting his son, makes preparations for Jerry to take over as cantor. Jerry painfully breaks the news to his father that he does not want to be a cantor, and then goes to New York to begin rehearsing for the musical show "Top of the Town." The show opens to poor reviews and closes the same day, but critics praise Jerry's performance. Judy is given another assignment by her producer, but Jerry is left in New York without work. A theatrical booking agency books Jerry for one night at a bar in Hoboken, but cannot provide him with steady work. Judy tries to persuade her recording producer, Ray Mullins, to allow Jerry to accompany her on her next record, but he refuses, calling Jerry an "unknown." Jerry, meanwhile, takes a job as a disc jockey, but is soon fired for being the wrong "type." One day, Jerry's uncle Louie visits him and sees that he has fallen on hard times. Louie delivers a prayer book from his father and urges him to return home to Philadelphia for Passover. Jerry makes one more attempt to break into show business in New York and gets an audition for the lead in Judy's new show. Uncle Louie, who has gone into a partnership with the show's backers, is forced out before things get started, though, and Jerry finds himself back where he began. Dejected, Jerry returns to Philadelphia with Louie, and Judy, who is in love with Jerry, quits the show to join him. Jerry decides to turn his back on show business for good and resume his studies, but Judy returns to New York unconvinced that Jerry truly wants to be a cantor. However, David is overjoyed by his son's decision, and immediately arranges to have him take over the choir. Time passes, and Jerry's increasing unhappiness leads him to leave the congregation. David, furious at his son's decision, strikes Jerry and throws him out of the house. Back in New York, Jerry resumes his romance with Judy and starts his show business career all over again. Jerry soon becomes a big hit and tours the country with his musical and comedy act. Miller later casts Jerry in the lead role of his next show, "Step This Way." Hours before the show is set to open, Jerry gets a telephone call from Louie, who summons him home to be with his ailing father. From his sickbed, David asks Jerry to forgive him for his stubbornness and then gives his son his blessing. To his father's delight, Jerry sings the "Kol Nidre" at the synagogue. David eventually makes a full recovery, and Jerry returns to Broadway and continues his successful rise to stardom with Judy at his side.