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Michael Kind was a rabbi but he was also a man A man who couldn't help that his heart led him to Leslie a beautiful minister's daughter Defying parents and teachers they dare to love one another and build a life together in this sweeping drama of love and identity compassion and crueltly and a complicated world that will not accept their decisionsA rewarding reading experienceLOS ANGELES TIMES


10 thoughts on “The Rabbi

  1. says:

    I've enjoyed Noah Gordon's style in his Historical Fiction books There's an earthiness to his writing that makes the past feel immediate and his characters real Unfortunately I like those ualities 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 1960s 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 reuiredI will continue to pursue Gordon's other historical work but I'll be steering clear of anything set in the 20th Century or later


  2. says:

    The Rabbi was Gordon's first book It is the story of Michael Kind a rabbi who was raised in the NY NJ area in the 1920s 1940s He is heavily influenced by his close relationship with his grandfather who was an immigrant from eastern Europe Michael meets falls in love with and marries a minister's daughter who converts to Judaism The story is told from Rabbi Kind's present time in the 1960s back to his childhood then through the years as a teen college aged young man and as a rabbi married and with children I have previously read the 3 Cole series books The Physician Shaman Matters of Choice as well as his latest book The Winemaker I love Noah Gordon but I do not think The Rabbi is as good as the others that I have read 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


  3. says:

    The book is certainly readable Gordon has a nice writing style but I found the book rather disappointing The book has an interesting story but everything related to being a Rabbi or Judaism is so superficial First Michael Kind's decision to become a Rabbi come out of nowhere the only clue being the name of the book 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 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 dinnerThe same is true of his wife's conversion She goes to lessons passes the test as if becoming a Jew is or less the same as getting a driver's license Moreover I know things have changed but I doubt that Jews belonging to a Reform synagogue would be put off by a rabbi's being married to a convert as presented in the book 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 euivalent 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


  4. says:

    Even taking the passage of time and custom into account Mr Gordon really cannot write women at all Which is a shame But the rest of the book is a very good look at Jewish life in americalevel of devotion what a synagogue means to its members what the life of a rabbi is really like It's also a pretty honest unvarnished look at how converts are seen and treated I can't see this being interesting to anyone but a Jewbut I could be off base Read if you're a Gordon fan


  5. says:

    Loved this book and want my husband to read it as well


  6. says:

    Sad to say I had a difficult time finishing I wanted to like this book so much but really the story meandered all over the place and frankly none of it was interesting The author could have used a good thesauruses and perhaps come up with another word for 'fat' to describe most all of the women As well he had women constantly being the fragile stereotypes bursting into tears all the time I realize the book was published 60 years ago when sexism was prevalent but I found it hard to relate to the way the author categorized and described women Other than that perhaps I missed the part where it said why Leslie had the breakdown That was the only reason I read to the end A lot of telling and not much showing made it tedious as well


  7. says:

    I think I read somewhere that this is Noah Gordon's first book written as he made a decision to pursue writing as a career I loved The Physician I loved The Last Jew Reading The Rabbi was a shock in comparison I am cutting him some slack believing he developed a stronger idea of what makes good writing and what makes a good book as he wrote books What I liked about The Rabbi is that I think Gordon captures the realities faced rather well and if his main character is shallow in his attitudes and observations especially of women it is not uncharacteristic of the attitudes of his generation I found it disappointing that he had such low opinions of most women and especially women who were fat which he mentions often enough to be distracting The difficulties The Rabbi faced as he assumed his rabbinical duties had the ring of truth and he educated those of us who are not Jewish in the matters important to Jewish lifeIt might be that we have such unrealistically high standards for the clergy Catholic Protestant Evangelical Jewish as a whole that I found Gordon's rabbi and his wife to be not particularly likable or relatable It might be that I find this book uncomfortable because it was uncomfortably close to the truth


  8. says:

    It seems that Michael was predisposed from early life to become a rabbi This novel is a well written and evolved story of a very human person who led a life influential than he himself thought Relative success and relative failure are the marks of Michael's life He is a clergyman who attempted to balance his aging process his family and his congregation in as rational a way as he knew how He faces his share of challenges and proceeds to keep on keeping on He develops resilience strength of character and courage during the course of the unfolding narrative The author's writing style is comfortable and at times penetrating The characters especially the rabbi are well fleshed out The book keeps one reading Recommended for those who might appreciate a human rabbi rather than a theological exegesis The dynamics of congregational life ring true


  9. says:

    A very pleasant rewarding read that follows the maturation of a rabbi and a marriage The main conflict in the story is the rabbi grappling with who he is in a world that he is part of and yet isn't He's a rabbi in a gentile world; he's a Reform rabbi that always doesn't see eye to eye with his congregations A parallel conflict flows with the story of Leslie his wife who has converted from Christianity to Judaism and endures the label of shickseh While the story focuses on Rabbi Kind I think Leslie's part is as interesting and I was wishing for from Leslie's perspective The marriage is a moving story of how love changes Noah Gordon's writing is sensitive and keeps the reader involved


  10. says:

    I loved Gordon's 11th century story through Europe to an Arab medical school in Ispahan Persia where The Physician studies under the immortal physician Avicenna 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 I can't understand how The Rabbi was on the The New York Times bestseller list for 26 weeks or maybe I can imagine 'cause it's an epic of Judaism in America