THE RABBI OF CASINO BOULEVARD by Allan Appel

THE RABBI OF CASINO BOULEVARD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An only occasionally amusing comic novel about a ""lucky"" rabbi who presides over a synagogue full of gamblers in California. Rabbi Arthur Bloom is a clumsy, bearish, good-natured young man who likes to write poetry and wear baseball hats; he's bounced around from synagogue to synagogue all over the country, unappreciated by conservative congregations, until he latches onto a small temple in Gardena, California, in the center of a gambling district. There he flourishes when the superstitious high-rollers who attend services discover that his sermons have a direct effect on the ebb and flow of their fortunes--chapter and verse numbers mentioned, names of Biblical figures, anything is grist for the gamblers' mill. Meanwhile, Arthur, who is a bit of an innocent, falls in love with a Japanese/American girl named Dawn Nakazawas, whose mother runs a liquor store across the street. Dawn comes over in the guise of giving Arthur swimming lessons, but she's really a free-lance journalist who's writing a series of articles about the ""lucky"" rabbi and the ""Silver Dollar Synagogue"" for a Los Angeles scandal sheet. Despite this, Arthur persists in his love, and Dawn begins to return it. This brings great delight to the gamblers, who are sure that the exact times of Dawn and Arthur's trysts mean big luck at the tables; unfortunately for Arthur, though, Sarah North, temple president, and other former fans of his (including his mother) are not amused: not only is Dawn Japanese, but she's not Jewish. Arthur is finally forced to resign, but is brought back when Sarah North dies of a heart attack. He and Dawn marry, and, as the novel closes, celebrate the news that oil has been found underneath synagogue property. Strictly for those who like their clerics cute and cuddly.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's