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Monday the Rabbi Took Off (A Rabbi Small Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1986

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Mass Market Paperback, February 12, 1986
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett Crest (February 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449210014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449210017
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,089,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Monday takes Rabbi David Small on a private exodus to Israel for a much needed rest. But as usual, trouble follows the Rabbi. While his congregation at home is busy plotting his dismissal, the Rabbi is up against the Wall -- in an international incident involving a young American student, Israeli intelligence, and a group of Arab terrorists with murder on their minds . . .

Customer Reviews

Mr. Kemelman writes a very good story.
David Brockert
He just can't seem to make it work, crams too much into a tiny novel, and the mysteries themselves end up being rather dry.
E. (Harry) Hernandez
Very interesting learning the cultural setting in Isreal while Smalls visited.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This 1972 book is the 4th in the 'Rabbi Small' (FRIDAY THE RABBI SLEPT LATE) series that was quite popular in the late '60's and '70's. Like the rest of the series the action centers on Rabbi David Small, his family - wife Miriam and young son Jonathan and the temple congregation of Barnard's Crossing, a small New England town. The books are a continous arc, beginning with Rabbi Small's arrival and proceeding in chronological order, both through his life and the days of the week in the titles. MONDAY THE RABBI TOOK OFF follows a few months after the events of the previous novel, a new board of directors has taken charge of the temple, one that is not completely happy with their rabbi a sentiment that is shared with the rabbi himself. When the matter of his contract is broached Rabbi Small has decided he needs some time off and announces that he is taking some time off to go to Israel - and he is not completely certain whether it will be a temporary or permanent move.

The story is split between two locations, Israel with Rabbi Small and his twin tasks of resolving his personal conflicts and solving a murder, and the Barnard's Crossing Temple which is trying to decide what to do about their rather difficult, and currently absent, rabbi.

As always with this 'cozy' series the murder mystery aspect is secondary to the characters involved. Kemelman brings the various, and there are many, characters involved to life. The members of the congregation and their own points of view are shown as well as the Rabbi and his family. In this book we also met Miriam's Aunt Gittel and are introduced into the world of mid-1970's Israel.

The story is a bit dated but has worn quite well. It, like the rest of the series, is not for anyone looking for a challenging puzzler of a mystery but rather would appeal to a fan of the 'cozy' genre.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Brockert on July 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Kemelman writes a very good story. This one is not so much a mystery as it is a travelogue and explanation of Jewish life in the modern world. It has always been a bit of wonder that he could present a rabbi who could make such interesting deductions and solve mysteries so easily. There are always examples of this rabbi thinking outside the box in his books. It is quite refreshing to read these quirks of logic that are so reasonable and yet unexpected.

This story has a bit of a long workup to the mystery, but then some stories seem to have so many people getting killed, it is a wonder there is anyone left to solve the crime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on September 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Kemelman continues his highly enjoyable series with many of the same characters in his Mass. town. Some may be amazed at how leaders of his congregation view their Rabbi--businesslike vs. spiritual or religious--but "it takes all kinds..." In the Mass. part of the book, I especially liked the characterizations of the Deutch's--a challenge between their self-interest & integrity--very well done. The other part of the book takes place in Israel where the mystery concerns terrorists & bombings. There again, Kemelman presents interesting dichotomies: the Rabbi's feelings while in the US vs. in Israel--"torn between two lovers?" The other is between Gittel & her son Uri over secularism vs. religious orthodoxy--a quite controversial topic in Israel. I'm not sure I agree with Rabbi's Small's position, but it needed to be presented. I found Gittel to be a most engaging character. The mystery is actually a small (no pun intended) part of the book which the Rabbi, of course, solves quite readily & cleverly. Thus, this book is a bit of a change of pace, but nevertheless consistent with Kemelman's other Rabbi Small books. They may be a bit old, but they're still quite good & worth reading for a mystery lover or someone interested in American Judaism (& in this book Israel as well).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bob Newman VINE VOICE on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
I liked Rabbi Small when he was figuring out mysteries and murders in Marblehead, otherwise known as "Barnard's Crossing", a small town in Massaschusetts in the `60s and `70s. His congregation always contained believable local characters, he dealt with people whom I could recognize, and most of all, there was more suspense and dare I say---action ! This series has many of the same characters from book to book, so you might enjoy the twang of familiar strings. If you live around here, you will certainly enjoy the familiar. Back when the books came out, locals tried to guess who was whom in reality. In MONDAY, the rabbi seems burnt out, he needs a break, a short sabbatical. He and his wife head off to Israel without much word to the folks back home as to whether they'll actually return or not. The rabbi, as usual, is not a gung-ho parish leader. He's thoughtful, he's retiring, and he doesn't kowtow to anyone. Harry Kemelman liked to explain Jewish customs and religion to his readers. I think it was an admirable part of his books; it lifted them above the average detective novel the way Tony Hillerman's Navajo characters and background did his. But if we get too much into "presentation" and too far from suspense or mystery, then the thing is going to fall a little flat. I'm afraid this number of the series plopped into that category.
Terrorist bombings in Jerusalem that turn out to be something more or less, far-fetched connections to the past, unlikely suspects, the Israeli police and security apparatus, the rabbi very tangentially involved, but using pilpul, or Talmudic reasoning to bring closure to the case (all in a few pages)---this didn't add up for me. Israeli attitudes and contradictions in the 1970s may not ring too many bells today. If you're a big Kemelman fan, of course you'll want to read this one too, but I think the ones written about a more familiar environment are better.
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