Who By Fire

I’m enjoying this new novel by Diana Spechler.

Was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach the epitome of Jewish love? I always thought so until the past few years.

From Diana’s new book:

A wise Jew says: "And it’s not your fault you lived treyf for nineteen years. But my guess is that you weren’t having much success in life before you became frum."

"All you Ba’alei Tshuva [penitents]…you’re all messed up in the head. Nowhere to turn, so you turn to us. Of course you’re searching for acceptance. Of course you care what we think." (Pg. 172-173)

From page 65: "Yosi told me all about the Zeff House, where he had been praying every day for seven years. Internationally, the Zeff movement is a niche for artistic hippie Jews. A musician/rabbi, Yudel Zeff started it up back in the sixties. He died in 1994."

From page 69:

Back in Boulder, I did some of my own research about the Zeff Movement, and what I learned made me sick. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Rabbi Yudel Zeff had sexually assaulted young Jewish women and molested Jewish girls. He never even got in trouble for it. This was the man Yosi was so starry-eyed about?

"You’re the ones who have something wrong," I finally told him. "This isn’t Judaism. You make a joke out of Judaism, with your music and your hippie stories. And the way you idolize that" — I gestured toward Rabbi Zeff’s picture — "that pig!"

Yossi’s smile faded from his lips. "You’ve been listening to rumors," he said. "Don’t believe everything you hear."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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