Friday, July 23, 2010

Irgun Referral

I blogged about the new Steve Stern novel, the Frozen Rabbi.

I missed this at the time:

One afternoon in 1999, 15-year-old Bernie Karp finds a perfectly preserved shtetl rabbi encased in the ice of his family’s freezer. His father explains: “Some people got taxidermied pets in the attic, we got a frozen rabbi in the basement. It's a family tradition.” He goes on to say that the “saintsicle” met his unfortunate fate a century ago, after tipping into a lake while in a mystical trance. After his initial adoption by Bernie’s great-great-grandfather back in the Pale of Settlement, the rabbi has been passed down through successive generations, an unwieldy heirloom trundled around the world as if he were a pair of sabbath candlesticks.

“He brings luck,” is the reason everyone gives. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind. The Karp family's afflictions are legion, all of them detailed here. First, there is the tale of Salo Frostbissen, who dies rescuing his daughter from vicious assailants. That daughter is the ingenious but afflicted Jocheved, who disguises herself as a man and hauls the rabbi across the ocean to Ellis Island. In New York City, he is then passed to son, Ruben, who eventually becomes a haunted, angry Irgun militant and settles on a kibbutz before the birth of Israel in the 1940s. The final owner is Ruben’s son, Julius, a dull home-appliance salesman in fin de si├Ęcle Memphis.


- - -

No comments: