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The Frozen Rabbi: 09/23/18
The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern is a weird book. You have to be in the right mood for it. You might have to set it aside if the mood passes. I'm putting that right out there before I even get into the specifics.
Back in Russia in the pogrom days a Rabbi of some renown lies down to mediate. He does so well at it that he manages to survive being frozen. Fearing a curse or divine retribution or just enjoying the good luck that seems to come with having a frozen rabbi on hand, his body is passed down generation to generation until it ends up in the extra freezer along with the grocery store specials and leftovers of holidays past. That is until Bernie Karp accidentally unfreezes him.
The rabbi who emerges goes through an initial stage of being horrified at how un-Jewish his host family seems to be. Then he comes around to thinking maybe this is his reward for all those years of thoughtful prayer and whatnot. It may not be paradise but it's interesting and maybe he's supposed to partake in all the vices.
Reading this, I couldn't help but imagine the rabbi as performed by Mel Brooks (he hasn't but the almost twenty years ago when this book first was published, he would have been perfect). Young Bernie Karp I see as Matthew Broderick from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
It's weird. It's memorable.