Allan Appel

High Holiday Sutra

“Jonah Grief is a rabbi with ‘Jewish feet and Buddhist wings.’ It is Yom Kippur, and he is auditioning for a job with the Hebrew Meditation Circle of Los Angeles, which has advertised for an ‘eclectic’ rabbi. Jonah’s sermon turns into a hilarious extended memoir, with side trips into the spiritual and philosophical issues that continue to beset him. An innocent with the obliviousness of a Max Shulman character, Jonah tells his potential congregation all about Brandy Lee Snyder, nicknamed the Wild Thing, a stunning beauty with skin ‘the color of $18-per-pound whitefish’ who became, in name if not in fact, his first wife. And then there is his second wife, Ada, a student of Buddhism with whom he presided over the United Hebrew Alliance of Kleinkill, a dying congregation founded by the Kleinkill Jewish Apple Growers Association. In this deft satire, Allan Appel plays devil’s advocate, wryly prodding readers to ponder the validity of borrowing from other religions to fill in the perceived gaps in one’s own.”
--The New York Times Book Review

“It’s not necessary to be Jewish to be snared into Appel’s world. I’m a backsliding Baptist and loved every page.”
--GTO LitCrit

“Written with great energy and humor. The characters are beautifully drawn. My favorite is the narrator’s father, sitting in shul listening to baseball scores.”
--Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus

Selected Works

"This is an unabashed joyride of a novel, at turns hilarious and bittersweet. It's a wholly original take on adolescence with a wild Jewish Lolita at its warm heart, a creature at once a thing of spirit and the irresistible flesh. Pure exhilaration." -- Steve Stern
A hilarious irreverent view of contemporary religious manners examining what we mean by faith and marriage in the 21st century.

“Appel shows the hand of a deft theologian, crafting a truly funny, spiritually observant novel of religious identity and experience.”
--John Green, Booklist
A heartbreaking and hilarious Jewish-Buddhist love story that takes on critical religious issues of our time.