The Frozen Rabbi

The Frozen Rabbi

by Steve Stern

Arlene Almas: This is quite a wacky, zany story, so if you like wacky and zany, try "The Frozen Rabbi." Of course, you have to be willing to believe that a revered 19th century Polish rabbi could be accidentally frozen and maintained in various ice houses over the years by members of a Jewish family in Poland, New York City, and eventually Memphis, Tenn. A century after being flash-frozen, the old rabbi awakens in the home of Bernie Karp, a young teenager who becomes a devoted student of the rabbi. Along the way we get to know the original family's idiosyncratic descendents who care for the frozen rabbi through the years, and at the same time we learn the overarching history of the Jews from Europe to America, from poverty to affluence, from piousness to assimilation. The story is told with great humor and remarkable characters, and I found it very enjoyable.
Rating: ****

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