THE JEWISH NOVEL: a story of intrigue and interstate

25 Sep


            Welcome to the Jewish novel. This is where all the girls are perfect aidel Bais Yaakov girls, heaven forbid they forget to make a bracha (and it’s not explicitly written in the book every time they eat something, because how else would you know if they made a bracha.) All the boys shteig, and if they don’t, they’re working, only because they HAVE to, but are really Tzaddikim Nistarim, learning into the wee hours of the night, saving the world from greasy hair. All others (there are others?) are unmentionable, forbidden, taboo.

            The Jewish novel takes place in Paris, London Johannesburg, India, Pakistan, dark side of the moon, and any other place where you are unlikely to find a Jewish person. Never New York, which is only the largest Jewish community in America.

            In the Jewish novel, the intrigue is the letter on the counter, which appears to frame the Rav of the town as a counterfeiter, only to find out later it was an overdue bill (the irresponsibility, a shanda, how could he be a Rav?!) The interstate is between Montana and North Dakota. New Jersey and New York? Unheard of.

            This is the Jewish Novel, where you know what will happen on the next page because this happened in the last Jewish novel and the one before, and the one before that (or from a much better secular version)…They all live happily ever after.

            This is the Jewish novel. If you’re reading it, you need a better hobby, like davening harder for moshiach. Be’meharah, beymainu, amen.


Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Uncategorized


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19 responses to “THE JEWISH NOVEL: a story of intrigue and interstate

  1. stam

    September 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    and of course the kollel wives selling their diamond rings for their tzadikkim nistarim husbands to learn longer 😉

    nice post 🙂

  2. dina

    September 25, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I remember incautiously opening one of these and reading something like “he was a nuclear physicist but it wasn’t important to him, he only did for the parnassa.” Bring on the brain bleach.

  3. Child Ish Behavior

    September 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Very Funny Post. I think I’m going to stick to my SciFi Novels.

  4. The Babysitter

    September 25, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    uch, I hate Jewish novels. It’s either the way you described it, or that there’s some bad guy worker who is stealing or something and the little Jewish boys catch him because of all their Jewish tools and then they become heroes. Or that these aidel Jewish girl’s meet up with this non religious girl and then boom the girl becomes Jewish. Or it has Jewish characters that do bad things, and it all sounds so fake and annoying. I would rather read a non Jewish book of a non Jew stealing and killing and doing other bad things than to read it from a Jewish book.

  5. tooyoungtoteach

    September 25, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I forgot to write that there is at least one person required to become a BT per book.

  6. Mikeinmidwood

    September 26, 2008 at 3:36 am

    I hate reading jewish books and always have. When I was in 3rd grade the class was all into the cheery bim bam (or band). Anyway I hated it so much it was just too frummie for me.

  7. tooyoungtoteach

    September 26, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Forget about it being too frummie, it’s just bad writing. I’m telling you, that if it was written well, you would have like the Cherry Bim Band, BY Times and what not. I can read stuff that I think is too extremest and annoying, as long as it’s written well, instead of the cliche that Jewish books are.

  8. offthederech

    September 26, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Hey! I liked The Cheery BimBand!

  9. Frum Hiker

    September 27, 2008 at 12:26 am

    You have got to read Sotah its a Jewish novel but the BY girls have affairs and fall in love on their shidduch dates.

    Such fun that its a bestseller. You should have said frummy novel- because there are loads of great Jewish novels.

  10. tooyoungtoteach

    September 28, 2008 at 2:16 am

    You’re right, I should have specified, Frummy books…oh well…I read Sotah, and The sacrifice of Tamar. While they were written well, I didn’t like them…however, I did LOVE Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, The Promise, I am Asher Lev, etc. Tova Mirvis wrote a fairly decent book to “The Outside World”

  11. Lion of Zion

    September 28, 2008 at 5:40 am

    “I did LOVE Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, The Promise, I am Asher Lev, etc. ”

    i’ve read all of potok’s jewish novels. the first few were great and i couldn’t put them down. but then it got a bit boring because all of his books have the same basic (autobiographical) story (except for davita’s harp, where religious journey goes the other way)

    שבוע טוב

  12. tooyoungtoteach

    September 28, 2008 at 6:09 am

    I didn’t go for Davita’s Harp that much. I’m not sure why though…oh well. I only read 5 of “Jewish” books, he wrote more?

    Did you read his Korean War story, “I am the Clay” it’s excellent.

  13. frumpunk

    September 28, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Good post! Beat me to the punch, this was one topic I planned on writing about.
    The last Jewish novels I bothered reading (the era of “In the Spiders Web” and “The Gordian Knot”) taught me that the antagonist is always gonna be a Nazi, the protagonist will world hop at any moment, and frum authors cannot write a beliveable non-frum Jewish character to save their lives. (The Gordian Knots descriptions of the kollel guys cousin who was a rock star described lyrics such as “I got ketchup running through my veins!”)

    As for kids books… what can I say? I liked The Cheery Bim Band and BY Times when I was 8-10.

  14. frumpunk

    September 28, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Also, I understand what you’re saying about ignoring New York, but you have to remember that these are written to be exotic places to New York Jews. But for those of us who live around the world, there are millions of Jews in each city that you mentioned (Paris, London and Johannesburg). You would actually be hard pressed to spend a week in any of those places and not meet a Jew unless you’re deliberately avoiding the Jewish areas. (In all fairness though, I’ve never been to Johannesburg, but I do know some emigrants from there.)

  15. tooyoungtoteach

    September 28, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Yes, there are Jews living all over the world, what makes their lives more interesting than mine? I have no idea.

    Jewish novels are big on “suspending belief” but they give you nothing to suspend from.

    I was just reading in this weeks Mishpacha about memoir writing, how people should be concerned how other people mentioned in a memoir, or not mentioned are presented. Careful of their feelings blah blah blah, how writing is not an art form like it is in the “goyish” world…well with that attitude no explantion necessary for all the drivel that’s out there.

  16. frumpunk

    September 29, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Isn’t it ironic that we’re called “The People of the Book”?

  17. The Babysitter

    September 29, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Frum Punk: I had a whole class on why we are called that!

  18. tooyoungtoteach

    September 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    If you think about it, Jewish people probably make for the most interesting charaters because they’re are probably the most conlficted…that’s why were of the book and don’t write the book. Shame though.

  19. Something Different

    February 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    You forgot to mention the part where the entire world was about to be blown up, then it was saved by someone seeing the menorah and becoming frum.
    I hate when I start reading one of these books. I can’t stop in middle of a book, no matter how bad it is, but sometimes I want to shoot myself when I finish them.


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