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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