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Unfortunately, I like those qualities much less in a contemporary setting. Even though The Rabbi focuses on a way of life that is less familiar to me, that earthiness becomes too realistic and depressing - and even boring - in a setting that is too close to current day for my comfort. Contemporary here is the s, but it feels very much like the type of contemporary that I read in school and ran away from as fast as I could once reading it was no longer required.
The book has an interesting story, but everything related to "being a Rabbi", or Judaism, is so superficial. The link with his grandfather and some months study is not enough to explain why he suddenly decides to become a Rabbi. And then, despite his learning with an Orthodox The book is certainly readable - Gordon has a nice writing style, but I found the book rather disappointing. And then, despite his learning with an Orthodox Rabbi, he himself becomes a Reform Rabbi.
This is explained in exactly one sentence - a vague feeling that there should be some progress. And with that he finishes with the decision to become a reform rabbi, as if the decision of whether to be an Orthodox rabbi or a Reform rabbi is like deciding which entree to choose for dinner.
Most of all, I was surprised by the flippant attitude toward the Holocaust. At one point, he writes that not only were the Germans destroying European Jewry, but they were also destroying his sex life. As if these two "problems" were equivalent. There is one other very brief mention of the Holocaust - also with some rather flippant remark. How can a Jew, and a Rabbi at that even a Reform Rabbi be so disconnected emotionally from the Holocaust?
So the book is a nice read, but is disappointing in terms of developing any Jewish themes. He is heavily influenced by his close relationship with his grandfather who was an immigrant from eastern Europe.
The characters seemed less developed as those in his later books. That being said, I enjoyed this book and recommend Gordon to anyone who loves a good storyteller.
Which is a shame. But the rest of the book is a very good look at Jewish life in america But his first novel, The Rabi, the story of Michael Kind, a young rabbi who falls in love with the daughter of a Protestant minister was boring.
El rabino de Noah Gordon
El rabino - Noah Gordon