The Rabbi's Cat
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The Rabbi's Cat (Le Chat du Rabbin omnibus 1; books 1-3)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  2,947 ratings  ·  258 reviews
The preeminent work by one of France’s most celebrated young comics artists, The Rabbi’s Cat tells the wholly unique story of a rabbi, his daughter, and their talking cat–a philosopher brimming with scathing humor and surprising tenderness.
In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the a...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published May 22nd 2007 by Pantheon (first published 2002)
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Melki
The good news is - the cat can speak!
The bad news is - he only tells lies!

Well, the second part is wrong, but he is one argumentative puss!
He argues theology with the rabbi, and makes fun of the man's students,
going so far as to follow one young man to see if he frequents a whorehouse.

Cat and rabbi make a great comic duo. Observe this exchange where cat is reading aloud to the rabbi:

Cat - "Because if you want I can look for a fable with only kosher animals."
Rabbi - "Ah! Shut up and read."
Cat - "...more
Scot
This is an American compliation and translation of three related French graphic novel tales about the life of a Sephardic Algerian rabbi's cat in colonial Algeria round about the 1930s. The first of the three stories was my favorite, as the cat gains the power of speech after devouring a pet parrot and proceeds to argue theology and philosophy, requesting a Bar Mitzvah while also questioning the existence of God. The second story is an adaption of a classic French fable by Fontaine and includes...more
Caroline
A widowed rabbi, his cat and his daughter live in Algeria spin a story and lesson in Judaism very cleverly crafted in this graphic novel. Through the cat, who having eaten the family parrot, is imparted a miraculous ability to speak, questions and challenges to the Jewish faith are presented to the rabbi and the rabbi's rabbi. First the cat lies about eating the parrot, and then he insists on learning the Kabbalah and wants a Bar Mitzvah.

The rabbi's daughter gets married to a French rabbi and t...more
Nate
A peculiar, instantly engrossing graphic novel by Joann Sfar, an author who is new to me and who I was surprised to find when I got to the "about the author" page, is a man, despite having what seems to be a woman's name. I was very impressed by the author's knowledge of Jewish ritual and custom, but even more impressed by the unobtrusive way that he works it into the story. The story is both sad and funny in the best way.

One thing I find interesting about the structure of the story is the way o...more
Andrea
May 18, 2010 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: John
The Rabbi's cat gains the power to talk (by ingestion of parrot) and is no longer allowed to spend time with the Rabbi's daughter, whom he loves, because he is a bad influence. He asks to be bar mitzvahed so that he can be with her, and a delightful discussion ensues.

I loved the first story in this book. In fact, I might have to go back and steal it from John's so I can read it again whenever I want. The two stories that followed were great as well, but the first story made me fall in love with...more
Justin
An extremely quirky graphic novel by the French comic book artist Joann Sfar. I'd never heard of this guy but supposedly he's pretty hot shit over in Europe (Wikipedia: "Sfar is considered one of the most important artists of the new wave of Franco-Belgian comics.")

It's hard to be completely sure but I think The Rabbi's Cat takes place at the turn of the century, in Israel. As the title suggests, it follows the adventures of a rabbi and his cat, a rather scrappy fellow who has no qualms about ki...more
Warwick
‘The children are all very loving. They succeed in everything they do, they bring me great satisfaction.’

‘Baruch HaShem!’

‘Bless you.’


Ah, I love me a classic Jewish gag like that. Le Chat du Rabbin is a clever and very charming BD about Algiers's Jewish community in the 1930s, narrated by the titular feline, who early on in the book eats a parrot and gains the ability to talk. He immediately demands a bar-mitzvah – but as you'd perhaps expect from a cat, he turns out to be a skeptic at heart:

So w
...more
Bren
In one sense, The Rabbi's Cat seems to represent a basic interpretation of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. And in others, it light-heartedly recreates the Jewish Algeria of the 1930s. The characters of The Rabbi, The Rabbi's Daughter, and The Rabbi's Cat display multi-faceted prisms of their own personalities - and the entire story is narrated through the eyes of a seven-year-old cat.

In its original French format, The Rabbi's Cat is a series of three (out of five) comic books detailing the...more
John E. Branch Jr.
If you have an interest in graphic novels, I'd suggest you skip reading any reviews and simply locate this book and plunge in. Part of the fun of reading this comes from figuring out time and place and from finding out things about the characters. Every Goodreads review I glanced at gave away much of that.

What I'll say is this: There's a good deal of cultural atmosphere in the story, much of it related to Judaism, and there's a lot of fun in the plot developments as well as in the graphical styl...more
Lynn
What's not to love about a cat who, after eating a parrot and thus winning the power of speech, argues with his rabbi master about theology? And is one of the most winsomely drawn cats since Patrick McDonnell's Mooch? There's a lovely warmth in this graphic novel that ultimately seems focused on connection and presence (with each other and with God and with animals and with place and so on). Once I finished it I wanted to read it again. So I did.
Monica
“The Rabbi’s Cat” is the first graphic novel I’ve read and it won’t be my last. This was a fun and entertaining break to take while reading my usual mystery/crime books. You can’t help but fall in love with the little kosher kitty with the adorable big ears. Add a rabbi and his beautiful daughter and you’ll find yourself quickly reading and turning pages while gazing at the pictures.
sweet pea
what a great book! a precious glimpse into Algerian Jewish life featuring, possibly, my favorite literary cat. Sfar is great at getting you instantly immersed in the world he portrays. his illustrations and colors are always highly appealing. i always meant to read this book. glad i finally got a chance to.
Nina
Algiers, 1930's. The Rabbi’s Cat would not only give me an opportunity to travel, but also get a taste of the Algerian Jewish community, visit the time and place where Jews and Arabs coexisted. It was all looking good! I loved the idea behind it, liked the artwork & the dialogues. The only things I seemed to get a bit annoyed about, was when the cat is the narrator. I just didn't like the style: The rabbi asks this, the rabbi’s rabbi answers that, then he says and he says and he says... Luc...more
Astrid
Sep 12, 2013 Astrid rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Astrid by: Lia
Shelves: manga-comics
So great! Funny and warm-hearted packaged with philosophising cats; I never stood a chance. I especially love Sfar's messy but vivid line work - wanky as this sounds, the style feels really suited to the way Sfar gently deals with human imperfection and fallibility.
M. Fenn
The Rabbi's Cat is marvelous. I just sat down and devoured it in about 90 minutes. Delightful, charming, funny. The artwork is great. The sense of humor is sweet. The story is interesting and philosophical. And the cat is super.
Alex Robinson
Since I'm not really interested in Judaism I had a hard time getting into the book at first but I found the characters very compelling once the story got going and of course the art is great.
Outi
Funny, well drawn and different, the Rabbi's Cat provides unbiased information about judaism through the thoughts of a very charming cat. I especially enjoyed the cat's comments about dogs!
Hemza Zeghar
Being Algerian & Mediterranean with Italian origins this story hits home for me...... this is a wonderful storytelling from start to finish, a story about the Jews, Arabs (Muslims) & Europeans (Christians) who lived together in peace in the remarkable city of Algiers (Dzair) which was once the heart of the Lingua Franca.

If only history were taught using the very human elements at the heart of it all, in lieu of the stodgy texts and the tests for memorized dates & names.

Thank you Joan...more
Whitaker
A really great book shows us how everything is great and worth to die for
Kecia
There is so much to love about this book!

1. Art - the illustrations are simply amazing. Every frame is full of detail and emotion.
2. Cats - Sfar pegs cat behavior perfectly. The rabbi's cat looks nothing like my cat (see profile photo) but they have the same attitude! Two peas in a pod they are!
3. Relegion - Sfar pokes fun at the dogma of relegion while not being obnoxious about it.
4. Humor - it's laugh out funny from start to finish.
5. Quick - it's easily read in one evening.

Quick, fun read!
Ana
O Gato Rabino contém três histórias que se sucedem de forma bastante espontânea. É uma obra cujo tema é bastante explícito: o judaísmo, e que é bem aproveitado neste formato, nestas personagens e nestas histórias.
Confesso que conheço pouco o povo, a religião e o estilo de vida judaico, mas isso não me impediu de desfrutar destas histórias; bem pelo contrário, acho que até ajudou.
As três histórias foram interessantes mas a minha favorita foi "O Malka dos Leões", talvez por ser a do ponto central,...more
maha
(يحتوي التقرير عن حرق للقصة)

عن سيرة كليلة ودمنة، وفي قالب كوميدي لطيف، تتحدث القصة عن قطة الرابي، وهو أحد اليهود الذين يعيشون في الجزائر في مطلع القرن الماضي
على عكس الرابي الذي يؤمن باله اليهودية، القطة لا تؤمن الا بابنة الرابي التي تولت عنايتها

منذ ابتلعت القطة الببغاء، حتى اكتسبت قدرة على النطق لتبدأ محاوراتها الشيطانية لتعبث بعقل الرابي الذي كانت حياته آمنة مستقرة
القطة ذاتها لم ترتح منذ اكتسبت القدرة على النطق

القطة لديها نظرة لادينية جذورها في الحياة، لديها اراء عن كون طلابه الذين يبدون بمنظر...more
Aidan
Sfar weaves together superb storytelling with a unique & alluring art style.

< Beware: spoilers >
The three stories collected here are loosely associated so any of them could be picked up and enjoyed by itself. Together, they are a terrific trio. I only wish we were let further into the lives of the Rabbi, Abraham, his daughter Zlayba, and their sassy, sardonic talking cat (oh, snap, we are! There's a The Rabbi's Cat 2! Excellent).

As someone who enjoys metaphysical pondering, I especial...more
Marfita
Jan 03, 2011 Marfita rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: midrashists with a sense of humor
Shelves: graphics
I read this on the strength of The Professor's Daughter that I found so charming. This was a totally different kind of story about a cat in a sephardic household in Algeria. Why it's in our library I can't imagine, but I am grateful! I may also be one of the few people in town who can fully appreciate the book. There are three stories in this volume, the first about the cat's desire for a bar mitzvah so he can return to his mistress. Once he learned to speak (after consuming a parrot that would...more
Ivonne Rovira
Mar 16, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Alex Wolfe
In this delightful and uproariously funny parable set in Algeria in the 1930s, the rabbi’s cat, a conniving, profane cat who appears to be a blue Abyssinian, devours a garrulous parrot, thereby acquiring the bird’s power of speech. The clever but prevaricating cat immediately launches into a campaign to get himself a Bar Mitzvah — despite the opposition of both the rabbi and the rabbi’s rabbi. Eventually, the rabbi relents due to the intervention of the rabbi’s beautiful daughter, Zlabya — to wh...more
Amanda
The rabbi’s cat gives us a glimpse inside the home world of an Orthodox Rabbi and his young adult daughter in Algeria in the 1930s. The cat is who we could call the “questioning” member of the family, a fact that isn’t too bothersome until one day he gains the ability to speak.

I loooove animal perspective books, and the drawing of Zbalya holding the cat on the cover was so adorable that I just had to grab this off the library shelf. I was not disappointed.

Although I think anyone could enjoy this...more
Dara Naraghi
I'm not a fan of religion as a topic, and despite the accolades this graphic novel had received, I wasn't exactly rushing to the bookstore to grab a copy. But I'm glad I did, because it really delivers on all levels. Sfar's art took a while for me to warm up to, but on every page there's something new - a detail, a sight gag, a different technique - that proves he's an illustrator at the top of his game. And the story...wow. It's poignant, charming, funny, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and meanin...more
Denisa
Another one of my favorite graphic novels (or tales). The story is an intelligent discussion, balanced and funny about Judaism. The author has a great gift to render the most complex philosophical discussions extremely simple but not simplistic. And bear in mind, this is a talking cat we're reading about. The essential precepts of Judaism are outlined briefly in interesting dialogues between the cat and its Rabbi. The cat wants to have its bar-mitsva and he tries to persuade the Rabbi to organiz...more
Niccole Paytosh
"In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed Rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master's consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn't eat the parrot)..."[return]So I ordered it and it showed up at the library for me yesterday. I flipped it open and was surprised to find that it was actually a graphic novel, and not a novella like I was expecting. A French graphic novel. Now, I...more
Jackie
I picked this up when I was looking for graphic novels to fulfill a challenge task. I’m not a graphic novel reader by any means. It’s not my favorite form of storytelling, but I’ve been lucky because the 2 I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.

The Rabbi’s Cat is 3 different stories in one book- ‘The Bar Mitzvah,’ ‘Malka of the Lions,’ and ‘Exodus’. You don’t need to read them in order to understand them, but I think it is best because each one sort of builds on the other. Overall, I enjoyed the cat’s (...more
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Joann Sfar (born August 28, 1971 in Nice) is a French comics artist, comic book creator, and film director.

Sfar is considered one of the most important artists of the new wave of Franco-Belgian comics. Many of his comics were published by L'Association which was founded in 1990 by Jean-Christophe Menu and six other artists. He also worked together with many of the new movement's main artists, e.g....more
More about Joann Sfar...
Le Petit Prince The Professor's Daughter Vampire Loves (Grand Vampire, #1-4) The Rabbi's Cat 2 Le Chat du Rabbin, Tome 1: La Bar Mitsva

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“You've been the rabbi here for thirty years and these guys who've never set foot here want to decide who should be rabbi or not. And to lead prayer in Hebrew for Jews who speak Arabic, they want you to write in French. So I say they're nuts.” 4 likes
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