GOING TO JERUSALEM by Judith Bruder

GOING TO JERUSALEM

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Despite an inevitable tendency toward cutesiness, Bruder has come up with a fairly diverting notion: to explicate and traffic in some popular areas of Jewish theological controversy by re-casting Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with a bus-load of American tourists visiting Israel. The group is diverse--a fundraiser, a cab driver, a cook, an English professor (with a gentile girlfriend) who has changed his name, a rabbi, the ""Tri-State Interfaith Chairperson's Lieutenant,"" a porno-bookstore gay, a hearty Hassid, etc. And, urged on and introduced by the bus-driver/master-of-ceremonies, each traveler tells a story: granny tales, versions of Bible stories--Abraham and Isaac, Ruth and Boaz, David and Jonathan (guess whose?)--and wise instances from legendary rabbis and scholars. Linked with views of Israel's secular and holy sights and with quips and cranks among the passengers, these narratives do raise some venerable and substantial Judaic haggles (Job's Big Question, the spiritual and moral capacities of women, the meaning of the Jewish sufferings); but the tales are sadly short on Chaucerian robustness, lacking in variety, spice, and pace. Still, the tone is essentially modest and reverent, and the basic idea is executed well enough to make this a natural for temple (or even church) discussion groups.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Simon & Schuster