- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (May 13, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0066210674
- ISBN-13: 978-0066210674
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Rabbi and the Hit Man: A True Tale of Murder, Passion, and the Shattered Faith of a Congregation Hardcover – May 13, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
A charismatic but twisted rabbi hires a poor nebbish to kill his wife so he can live happily with his favorite mistress (of four): it sounds like bad crime fiction, but it's the true tale of Rabbi Fred Neulander, which grabbed headlines from New York City to Philadelphia until the rabbi's conviction (after a mistrial) last year. Magida tries not too convincingly to give this luridly fascinating story a larger significance by examining the loneliness that afflicts longtime rabbis and citing a study of clergymen who engage in affairs with congregants (Neulander is a "Dark King," who "uses his charm and charisma to convince congregants that he has `special abilities' "); the author is more successful in considering the painful and divisive impact of Neulander's crime on the South Jersey congregants who had adored their brilliant, ebullient rabbi. But journalist Magida (Prophet of Rage: A Life of Louis Farrakhan) is neither a penetrating portraitist nor a prose stylist. Neulander's outsize personality, rooted in ambition and ego, does come through. But Magida doesn't seem to have had access to the rabbi (and the lack of source notes leaves it unclear); sometimes he tells readers what Neulander thought or felt; other times, he relies on "maybe" and "apparently." Carol, Neulander's wife, remains a cipher, and there are frustrating gaps-two of Neulander's mistresses are virtually absent here, as are two of his three grown children, whose anguish one can only imagine.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Arthur J. Magida is the author of Prophet of Rage: A Life of Louis Farrakhan and His Nation. A former contributing correspondent to PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, he has also been senior editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times. He is currently writer-in-residence at the University of Baltimore.
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Neulander does not have time to grieve for his
newly dead/murdered frumpy cake baking wife Carol.
He has several girlfriends he must take care of.
Everything is falling apart. The police seem to
think he had Carol killed, his temple wants him
out and all the girlfriends have found out about
FAT Len Jenoff appears on the scene and tells police
the good rabbi paid him and Paul Daniels $18,000 to
It took 2 trials but all three were found guilty and
are in different prisons in New Jersey.
But --I just read on net site CRIMESIDER (cbs news)
June 30, 2009 that Jenoff now states that he lied and
Fred DID NOT pay him to kill Carol. What happens now?
I honestly don't know. The article ended with no closure.
Go to Google and type in Fred Nuelander and you will find
the Sider article.
Carol was a good woman, a great mother and owned her own
bakery. Fred thought her to simple for him even though she
had been born into a wealthy home and had more advantages
He is disgusting. Fred is 5'6" and a giant in his own mind.
Fred was not a rabbi because of his beliefs. He was one
because he thought it was a good career choice. He was not
a GODLY MAN.
I don't believe Jenoff. He says prosecutors promised him
5yrs to testify against Fred. That did not happen. He was
given much more time. So now he wants to change his story.
Jenoff has been lying since the day he was born.
This book is a great read. It details Carol and Fred's
his trials. They said it was on COURT TV and it was a
media circus. I wish I had seen it.
Fred, I hope soon you will be swimming with the gefilte
**read this book.**
bp okc 60's aries
I'm glad I did. Magida clearly comes at this case from the angle of how could a man who has committed his life to a higher ideal come to this? And, what is the impact on those who looked to this man for guidance? He makes it clear that becoming a rabbi was a career choice for Neulander, as opposed to a calling. He was highly successful and respected. Yet it wasn't enough. Magida presents convincing evidence that Neulander was a serial philanderer who needed the thrill of an illicit affair to feel "real".
Far more chilling is the revelation that Neulander seems to have sought Carol's death so that he could marry either a wealthy widow or a wealthy divorcee. He wasn't driven by passion for a woman, he wanted to keep up with the neighbors. Magida points out the irony of a rabbi who has founded a synagogue that emphasizes ethics over ritual being so able to dispense with ethics entirely.
This book is a step above the usual paperback entry in the true crime genre. (A genre of which I am a fan.) Magida is interested in what made Neulander and how his role as a rabbi enabled him to "pass" for so long. He still delivers on the details, providing fresh information on Len Jenoff's antics in Baltimore, while thoughtfully probing how Neulander abused his position and those who trusted him. It's an easy read that will stay with you.
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This book was a page turner, yet reasonably sensitively written. I couldn't put it down for long - even when the vistas of Antarctica beckoned!