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Remember when the men used to tell "their" womenfolk to make the guests coffee? Remember when temple/church were community cornerstones? Gender, ethnic and racially defined roles make this series a social history lesson (and in some places a caricature), but the novels still stand as cozy mysteries with the wise Rabbi-sleuth making astute observation on human nature, even if some of the social roles being filled by the humans are outdated.
George Guidall voices the series well. I listened to the first three, and I think after a break, I'll return to Barnard's Crossing and Rabbi Small's world. I'm just glad, as a women, I don't have to live there. I remember these titles from the bookstores of my youth and I'm glad to have an opportunity to listen to another classic religious-sleuth.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful
I have been listening to this series in order. I listened to half of this book (3 hours), and finally lost interest. I got tired of listening to the pettiness and bickering going on between the men who are members of the temple - who gets to sit in the most important seats, who donates more money to the temple than the others, and then trying to manipulate the rabbi to persuade him to do what they want, much like a bunch of children. At the halfway point in the book, the crime had still not occurred. I'm disappointed, because I thought this series would be a nice addition to my library. I enjoyed George Guidall's narration, as always, The book contains some undesirable language, but no f-bombs.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Rabbi David Small is not the most "clubbable" of men! His congregation are always hoping to replace him, and the government of the "Temple" of Barnard's Crossing is usually loaded towards the most worldly and cynical males in the district. Kemelman presents an unsentimental view of Judaism in late 20th c USA. Temple membership is as costly as joining a golf club - no welcome for the poor, no outreach towards the less fortunate - being Jewish in Barnard's Crossing is a class thing. Like any golf club, the politics are deadly. David Small has a clear idea of his job, and it's not to be the puppet of whichever layperson has been recently elected president of the board...