TO PURCHASE THIS BOOK: RABBIS AND GANGSTERS by Philip Graubart. $19.95, 336 pages.
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A murder/suspense mystery novel rooted in the textures and complexities of modern Jewish life, set in a desert suburb of the United States.

This is a novel that embraces both the spiritual and the real world with grace and tenderness, humour, and a pronounced sense of the absurd.

Who murdered Rabbi Judah Loeb’s wife? Was it the young, passionate assistant Rabbi Yael Gold, who secretly loved her boss? Or Yael’s husband, an insecure Klezmer musician with a savant’s gift for musical trivia? Or one of Judah Loeb’s many mistresses? Or the ethically challenged senior rabbi, whose "open marriage" scandal rocks his desert community? Or "the scumbag," a mysterious, odious former mafia hit man?

Rabbis and Gangsters tells Yael’s story, from love-addled naif, to panicky murder suspect, to serious spiritual leader, while her dark background — a philandering father (also a rabbi), her Cuban gangster relatives (did they perhaps kill Kennedy?), and the searing incident of abuse that scarred her childhood — provides scope to her difficult but triumphant journey.

Rabbi Philip Graubart is senior rabbi at Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, California. He is the author of My Dinner with Michael Jackson, Planet of the Jews, My Motheršs Song, and A Suicide Note, A Murder. He lives in San Diego.


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