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Waiting for the Messiah (3) (American Quartet) Paperback – October 15, 2019

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 ratings

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Your guide to mental fitness.
Kevin Hart breaks it all down. Listen free with trial
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Editorial Reviews


"To meet the needs of the Jewish community of Bolton, PA, part of an underutilized retirement center is converted to a boarding school staffed by the retirees. The director, a Russian refugee, stirs the pot by admitting a Palestinian boy, celebrates Palestine National Day, and has a fundraiser for a Catholic homeless shelter. Whether with him or against him, all took note of how these actions personified universal love and acceptance. And the rumors began: is this man really Jesus returned?This story had me tearing up in analysis then soaring in joy. There's not a better time than now to encourage acceptance of differences and to search for and celebrate Goodness wherever it exists. Can we not use this tale as a guide at this time of year, to search out the best in everyone? This author's style will sing to your soul. I strongly recommend you read this, absorbing its hauntingly beautiful melody in its message."
--Authors on the Air Review Crew

"A profoundly funny meditation on how one can find strength in religion."--Kirkus
"In Greene's novel, the director of a new Jewish boarding school rankles the community with his offbeat style--and there are rumors that he might be the Messiah.
Nudelman, a successful and irrepressible truck salesman proposes a novel idea to the Synagogue Board in the Jewish community in Bolton, a small town in Western Pennsylvania: to start a Jewish boarding school. Although they initially reject the proposal, Nudelman wins them over, suggesting that an old retirement home has plenty of room to house incoming students, and the endowment that sustains it is considerable enough to be partially repurposed. The board hires a Russian school director, Lev Kyol--"tall, angular man, weathered as an unpainted barn"--whose resume boasts experience as a school superintendent in Moscow. Although he impresses everyone with his "aura of self-possession and strength," he also shocks the board with a series of surprising decisions; he admits a Palestinian boy to the school, inaugurates a celebratory Palestinian Day, and organizes a fundraiser for a Catholic hostel. Some members of the community are apoplectic--teacher Martin Schweig schemes to get Lev deported--while others think that he's the Messiah. Greene, the author of The Seed Apple (2016), hilariously entertains this latter notion in the narration by Mendel Traig, the community center administrator: "Lev had suddenly become a diabolical, socialist dupe, a naive and irresponsible idealist, and a courageous advocate of brotherly love and understanding." Mendel earnestly tries to figure out the newcomer, while also dreaming of a romantic relationship with his best friend, Estelle Cantor. The author's artful brew of farcical comedy and theological provocation may remind readers of the work of Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson. Overall, it's a delightfully satirical exploration of the intersection between the quotidian and the absurd. Lev is a particularly memorable character; it turns out that when he said "superintendent," he actually meant "janitor," and he neither encourages nor repudiates the strange notion that his arrival is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Throughout, Greene wisely explores the salutary power of faith, which Mendel calls a "kind of spiritual walker for the psychologically disabled."
A profoundly funny meditation on how one can find strength in religion."

About the Author

Of Sheldon Greene's six novels, five draw strongly upon his experience with and knowledge of the Jewish faith. Ranging from fact-based history to flights of imagination, he uses his novels to explore such subjects as Jews in the American Revolution, Jewish influence on pre-Colombian culture, the Israeli War of Independence, and the impact of the Holocaust on creativity. Greene was appointed Warden of Insurance of the State of Ohio at age 23. A public interest lawyer, he pursued seminal issues―such as the United States' flawed health delivery system, the impact of illegal immigration on the economy, renewable energy, and public land policies―decades before they achieved national attention. He was a participant in the first Obama national policy team for both immigration and energy. He was one of the founders of the New Israel Fund and helped formulate its unique structure, drawing on his experience as General Counsel of California Rural Legal Assistance. He is an executive in a wind energy development company and has been actively engaged in renewable energy for over 25 years. He advocates the formulation of a God concept derived from the life process, stripped of anachronistic anthropomorphic characteristics. He has developed personal guidelines for a balanced, seamless life with spiritual, intellectual, social, and creative dimensions.

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Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2019