Academic journal article Chicago Review

Four Rabbis

Academic journal article Chicago Review

Four Rabbis

Article excerpt

I. The Rabbi and Death

Even chopped liver films with it, edges of kugel rusting, rubbery flesh of fish. Yea, though I walk

through the valley of Shiva, I will fear no evil, my Tums and my Seltzer comfort me. He

takes notes, rehashes stories, "A good man, good man. No, I didn't know that he was married."

How cryptic we get in death, he thinks, how boring the hole, endless ropes that lower, the flowery "now

nows." The end's a pain in the gut, weekends always spent at somebody's service, the valley of garlic breath.

II. The Rabbi's Fantasy and the Synagogue Board

He's been wearing two six-shooters slung low beneath his coat for years. No one knows. Mrs. Madansky

whines about the chandeliers, Mr. Fine about the food. Mrs. Epstein's accent sets the table spinning. The agenda

now has wings. Mr. Basevitz, former acrobat at the Warsaw follies, juggles chairs with stocking feet. Elijah taps

the Rabbi on his shoulder, hooks a hand behind his knee. A shot rings out. Plaster, water pitcher, gold watch,

garters, coins, a lighter and bread fall from the ceiling. …

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