THE TEMPLE by Jerome Weidman

THE TEMPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is essentially an attempt to dramatize one type of Jewish response to the silken snares of WASP anti-Semitism, specifically the suburban post-W.W. II variety, But here the rage is dry-iced in implausibility and the protagonist blocked out in Ayn Rand primary colors. David Dehn is a poor boy from Albany who on the morning of his bar mitzvah witnessed a rabbi set on fire by a laughing hoodlum and later visited Buchenwald while in the U.S. army; he returns with limitless wealth to buy up a huge tract of land in semi-rural Westchester. In no time at all, David marries the young Italian owner of the prime property (who later conveniently commits adultery and dies), builds a synagogue and parcels out low-priced lots to young Jewish families--in short, establishes Jerusalem in Westchester's green and pleasant land in order to produce a race of ""Jews without fear."" The locals react predictably--restricted restaurants, gentleman's agreements and deals to drive Dehn out, and there's even a raid by the Catholic War Veterans. By the close, after David, at 60, looks back on years of consciousness-raising during which the WASPs have come around, the mysteries in his life are at last revealed--the price he paid for the Buchenwald souvenirs buried in the temple cornerstone, the source of his money (from Nazi stormtrooper treasuries) and the spiritual insights that brought it all about. Weidman has forfeited the vitality and subtleties of the Jewish identity which he conceived on Tiffany Street.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1975
Publisher: Simon & Schuster