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Conversations with Rabbi Small (The Rabbi Small Mysteries #8)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  180 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Shot through with tension, conflict, humor and wisdom, "Conversations with Rabbi Small" is a rich tapestry of past and present beliefs that Jews and non-Jews will find meaningful, thought-provoking, and more than a bit surprising. Told in the form of a novel, this insightful and sensitive book will be accessible to a large audience, from young people to adults.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by iBooks (first published July 1st 1981)
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Jamie VW
Sep 27, 2012 Jamie VW rated it liked it
This was my Yom Kippur reading and it was a fittingly evocative and, at times, infuriating. Unlike Kemelman's other Rabbi Small mysteries, this book reads as a Judaism 201 placed in the confines of a conversation between his most famous character and a young couple, one secularly Jewish and one interested in converting. It is a smart, complex look at Judaism from a Conservative perspective (though with sometimes smarting jabs thrown at both Reform and Orthodox beliefs and practices). However, it ...more
Sari Lynn
Jul 17, 2008 Sari Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in learning the basics of Judaism without reading a text book
I remember really enjoying this book when I read it 25 years ago. The author provided an interesting way to explore the meaning and rituals of Judaism, within an interesting fictional story. (However, I could see the ending twist coming a mile away.)
Dec 02, 2013 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Rabbi Small takes a break from sleuthing to instruct a woman who wishes to convert. Good summary of the tenets of all factions of Judaism.
Mar 17, 2009 Jim rated it it was amazing
fantastic Jewish apolgetic
This was really just an excuse to write about Judaism, there isn't much of a story in it at all.
Kilian Metcalf
Mar 20, 2017 Kilian Metcalf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While on vacation, Rabbi Small's wife is called away to care for a sick relative. This leaves Rabbi Small on his own at a resort hotel. His stay is livened by the questions of a young woman involved with a Jewish man. She is interested in the young man's religion and turns to Rabbi Small for answers to her questions.

On their return to Barnard's Crossing, the couple makes plans to marry. This upsets both sides of the family equation. They turn to Rabbi Small to sort out their dilemma, and he can
I am sooo conflicted about this book. There are parts I'd give a 5 and parts I'd give a 2.

The first 1/3 or so that is basically Jewish apologetics without getting into Christianity is fascinating. I enjoyed better understanding what is distinctly Jewish and also where Lutherans (ELCA) are in a fair amount of sync - such as with a value on learning and questioning - using the minds God gave us, as well as the idea that what we do here matters, not just in the by and by. (Though I do believe in l
Jul 09, 2012 Hal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an unusual item in the Rabbi David Small mystery series: There's no mystery or crime to solve, the entire book is a pretext for discussions of religion and faith. Which is a good thing, the digressions on Jewish religion were among the things I liked best in the other Rabbi Small novels anyway. Don't expect much from the other characters or the plot, they're really just there to make Rabbi Small talk.

Overall, a very encouraging view of Jewish religion, and it looks like Kemelman put a lo
David Burkam
Jun 05, 2011 David Burkam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
Not a murder mystery but a fascinating series of conversations between fictional detective/Rabbi David Small and two young people.

The 30 years since this book appeared probably wouldn't change much of the content of these conversations today (no surprise given that these traditions have developed over thousands of years), except for two areas: (1) the role of women and (2) discussions about the state of Israel.

At the time of this book's appearance, women were for the first time being admitted fo
Jul 22, 2014 Annathy rated it liked it
I didn't like this book as much as I liked the other books, however it was interesting to know all the things that the Jewish people actually believe. In the end Rabbi Small still uses his deductive reasoning to solve a mystery - he uncovered something important that no one else involved knew about one of the main characters - and it changes their life forever.
Rose Blum
Jun 22, 2014 Rose Blum rated it liked it
Love Rabbi Small:) This is one that I had missed after the Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday the Rabbi...series. This book is a bit tedious unless you are really into religious practices, however, Mr. Kemelman presents a truly informative analysis of Judism & other popular religions.
Rebecca Huston
One of the best books on Judaism that I've found. It also gives some of the best reasoning as to why Jews don't eat pork. Presented in a fictionalized setting, the questions and answers are not fictional at all.
Apr 17, 2012 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book years ago but it is certainly worth reading again. While being in novel form, it is more a dissertation of not only Jewish, but Christian, beliefs that anyone can understand.
Very educational. Factual information conveyed via fictional story.
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Harry Kemelman was an American mystery writer and a professor of English. He was the creator of one of the most famous religious sleuths, Rabbi David Small.

His writing career began with short stories for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine featuring New England college professor Nicky Welt, the first of which, "The Nine Mile Walk", is considered a classic.

The Rabbi Small series began in 1964 with the
More about Harry Kemelman...

Other Books in the Series

The Rabbi Small Mysteries (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Friday the Rabbi Slept Late (The Rabbi Small Mysteries #1)
  • Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry
  • Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home
  • Monday the Rabbi Took Off
  • Tuesday the Rabbi Saw Red
  • Wednesday the Rabbi Got Wet
  • Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out
  • Someday the Rabbi Will Leave
  • One Fine Day the Rabbi Bought a Cross
  • The Day the Rabbi Resigned

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