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Conversations with Rabbi Small Mass Market Paperback – June 12, 1982


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett (June 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449245276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449245279
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The girl appeared, unannounced, at his cabin door, wanting to know if the Rabbi would convert her to Judaism. It was vital to her forthcoming marriage, she said. And so began Rabbi Small's investigation into the magic, the mysticism, the truths and the fables of the world's oldest religion.

From AudioFile

Rabbi Small takes a break from sleuthing and heads to the mountains, but instead of working on his book, he finds himself spending time with a young couple engaged to be married. Joan, the bride-to be, is not a Jew and wishes to convert. Her intended, Aaron, is a Jew but not observant. Rabbi Small sets about explaining what it means to be a Jew, ostensibly to Joan, but Aaron is drawn more and more into the conversations on the porch of the rabbi's cabin. George Guidall portrays the rabbi, who is deeply religious, learned and realistic, in an accent with hints of Brooklyn in it. Aaron is intelligent, snappish and wise. Joan is innocent and somewhat clueless but sincere. It's a tribute to Guidall's powers that the listener becomes fond of all three characters and deeply interested in the rabbi's evening discourses. L.R.S. © AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Lleu Christopher on April 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm not familiar with the other Rabbi Small books, which are apparently mysteries. Conversations With Rabbi Small provides a thorough examination of the Jewish religion. As the title suggests, most of the novel covers a series of conversations between Rabbi Small and a couple, Aaron and Joan. Aaron is Jewish; Joan is Christian, but is considering converting for the sake of her impending marriage. Aaron is not a religious Jew, but a scientist with an atheistic bent. Rabbi Small takes it upon himself to "convert" Aaron by explaining how Judaism is actually perfectly compatible with science and reason. As a non-Jew (and nonChristian actually) with an avid interest in history, philosophy and religion, I found Conversations to be a good source of information. One caveat --some non-Jews, especially religious Christians, may find some of the Rabbi's views objectionable. To paraphrase one passage, for example: "Christianity is a religion for dying, Judaism for living." He is similarly (and predictably) biased concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict. And if he is less than charitable towards Christianity, he (the author, that is, speaking as Rabbi Small) shows very little understanding of either Eastern religions or mysticism, both of which are simplistically equated with mere escapism. Rabbi Small represents a particular sect of Judaism, the conservative branch. He is critical of Jews who believe in life after death and any form of mysticism (thus dismissing virtually the entire Kabbalistic tradition). Yet, while all these points may be debated, they don't really detract from the book. Indeed, it wouldn't be realistic to have a devout conservative Rabbi give equal treatment to other traditions. History does, after all, give Jews good reason to be suspicious of Christians.Read more ›
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Corey on January 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book back in the 80s and was as impressed then with it as I am now. Though it reads like the novel it is, this book is quite the educator for anyone wanting to learn about the differences between Judaism and Christianity.

I would use it in the classroom or give it to someone who has questions about their Jewish or Christian neighbors.

It is a great read and an even greater study!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Kayton on March 23, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have bought dozens of these to give as gifts to interfaith couples that are getting married. Excellent discussion of how Judaism differs from Christianity, from a practical point of view. Also can highly recommend Common Prayers, by Harvey Cox.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read about the Rabbi Small books about a month (2/14) ago and I started reading them and I am finishing up the last two (there are 13 of them) I will be sad when they are done. They mix mystery and good story telling with Rabbi Small explaining his roll as a rabbi.
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By Mikatoga on January 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed many of Kemelman's mystery novels; entertaining, easy reads. This book, however, is not a murder mystery, but a brief introduction to what it is to be a Jew, told in the way of a story rather than a textbook. Anyone who is curious about Judaism will find this book opens the door to understanding.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was late to discovering this gem of a detective series by the late Harry Kemelman. But better late than completely missing out on it. The first book in the Rabbi David Small mystery series, instantly drew me into the world of the young Rabbi David Small. Mr. Kemelman obviously did thorough research into his work and it gave a very enlightening view of the Jewish religion. I found myself both entertained and educated.

In Conversations With Rabbi Small, the story takes a different turn. Here, Rabbi Small explores the traditions, rituals, and meaning of Judaism through a fascinating series of conversations Rabbi (and detective) David Small and a young couple. a very encouraging view of Jewish religion, and it looks like Kemelman put a lot of research effort into it, although the parts about Israel (as a modern state) seem a bit naive from today's perspectiveI cannot thank my friend and literary for recommending this series to me. These books are out of print but I am slowly finding and purchasing them all for my book collection.
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Format: Hardcover
When Rabbi Small decided to take a vacation, he did not anticipate the joy of being able to have conversations with a couple intending to get married, one in which she wanted to convert to Judaism.

While, from a Reformed Christian perspective, I don't agree fully with all of his understandings of Christianity, I love the context in which the conversations occur, and I must admit, until I spent a full year of tutoring in Hebrew with a Rabbi, this was my first experience in looking behind the mysticism of the Hebrew faith in a concrete way.

I have many books on Judaism as well as Christianity, but I love this particular little novel. It has a place in my heart.

If you are really interested in reading this, however, there are more current editions available here on Amazon for a lot less, unlike some books that have never been reprinted.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Rabbi Small decided to take a vacation, he did not anticipate the joy of being able to have conversations with a couple intending to get married, one in which she wanted to convert to Judaism.

While, from a Reformed Christian perspective, I don't agree fully with all of his understandings of Christianity, I love the context in which the conversations occur, and I must admit, until I spent a full year of tutoring in Hebrew with a Rabbi, this was my first experience in looking behind the mysticism of the Hebrew faith in a concrete way.

I have many books on Judaism as well as Christianity, but I love this particular little novel. It has a place in my heart.
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