Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Adirondack Mendel's Aufruf: Welcome to Chelm's Pond

Rate this book
Bloomie, they say, couldn’t find the hole in the middle of a bagel; her challah is missing a braid; she can’t remember which is her side of the eruv. Eager for her to get married, her parents conspire to advertise in the personals, and Adirondack Mendel arrives in Chelm’s Pond looking for love. But Bloomie, angry at her parents for advertising, will have nothing to do with him. They might never have come together if not for Aufruf, the talking spy dog who learned a bissel Yiddish when he worked for Colin Powell.

In her anxiety before their marriage, Bloomie implores Adirondack Mendel to gain the respect of the community. But first, he confesses, he’s not Jewish. How can he convert since he’s an atheist? How can he lead the Shabbat service if he doesn’t believe in prayer? Only Rabbi Chayim “who looks to heaven,” aka Rabbi Chayim Shmayim, can solve these vexing problems.

It all takes place in Chelm’s Pond, centrally isolated in New York’s Adirondack Mountains — the steep valley where every acre is two acres, you can till the soil with a teaspoon, and there are not only four seasons, there are five — where the ridiculous stories of Chelm meet the preposterous tall tales of the Adirondacks and generate compelling questions about the nature of God and the meaning of prayer.

You're invited to Adirondack Mendel’s Aufruf. Welcome to Chelm’s Pond.

119 pages, Paperback

First published December 3, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sandor Schuman

9 books3 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4 (66%)
4 stars
1 (16%)
3 stars
0 (0%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
1 (16%)
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Jenny.
688 reviews38 followers
June 26, 2013
This book was an enjoyable and quick read. The story itself is lighthearted while at the same time presenting deep, thought-provoking ideas to ponder while reading. The format of this book is interesting- each chapter is a short story that goes into making one larger story. I was a little apprehensive going into this book, seeing as I'm not religious, but knowledge of Jewish customs (or any religion, for that matter) is not required to read this book- the author does a great job of explaining things and there's a glossary for unknown words in the back! Seriously, read this book, you won't regret it!
Profile Image for  ManOfLaBook.com.
1,145 reviews71 followers
June 11, 2013
Adiron­dack Mendel's Aufruf: Wel­come to Chelm's Pond by San­dor Schu­man is a fic­tional book, tak­ing place in upstate New York which reprises some of the old Jew­ish tales of the fools of Chelm.

When I was con­tacted and offered Adiron­dack Mendel's Aufruf: Wel­come to Chelm's Pond by San­dor Schu­man I imme­di­ately jumped on the chance. I remem­ber the tales of these fab­u­lous fools from my child­hood. I remem­ber my grand­fa­ther telling me these folk­lore sto­ries (which I’m sure he grew up on) and I remem­ber how much I enjoyed them as well.

But it seems that Mr. Schu­man knew that already before con­tact­ing me, after all he stated upfront that “a Jew­ish story is one that a non-Jew wouldn’t under­stand, and a Jew­ish per­son has already heard”. Of course non-Jews would enjoy these sto­ries as well but maybe not as much since self-deprecation is a sta­ple in Jew­ish folklore.

The Wise Men of Chelm are a bunch of pop­u­lar Jew­ish folk­lore sto­ries. Chelm is a town in Poland (about 65 KM south­east of Lublin) and were passed down through the gen­er­a­tions ver­bally or through books in Yid­dish. Many of the sto­ries fea­ture the men doing absolutely fool­ish things. Like many of the sto­ries the title “Wise Men” is said in irony which is a com­mon fea­ture in Euro­pean folklore.

The moment I read the first para­graph I knew I’d like the book as it kept in line with the East­ern Euro­pean tra­di­tion of the sto­ries, they were per­suaded to leave Poland by a shrewd real-estate agent who promised them that:

“every acre is two, you can till the soil with a tea­spoon, and there are not only four sea­sons, but there are a five”.

The tales of Chelm are usu­ally out­landish sto­ries of stu­pid­ity or naiveté and Mr. Schu­man does a won­der­ful job bring­ing them across the Atlantic. On one of the sto­ries, about choos­ing a mother-in-law, I was laugh­ing so hard I had to call my wife.

This book is a fast read and includes a very handy Yid­dish and slang glos­sary as well as a study guide (avail­able for free down­load). The book is full of won­der­ful illus­tra­tions which cap­ture not only char­ac­ters, but also the spirit of the sto­ries whether in Europe or New York.

For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com
Profile Image for Sandor Schuman.
Author 9 books3 followers
October 11, 2013

I am the author of this book and I wanted to share a few comments about its origins.

As a storyteller, I wanted to tie together various Jewish jokes and stories into a larger setting and decided to set them in Chelm, the traditional Jewish Eastern-European setting for stories of fools and their mistaken reasoning. I wanted to move the fools of Chelm to America, and in particular to my home state of New York, so I searched for a "Chelm" in New York using Google Maps and Mapquest. No luck. I tried an Anglicized spelling, "Helm," and found Helm's Pond in New York State's Adirondack Mountains. I moved the Jews of Chelm to Chelm's Pond and incorporated my long-term love of Adirondack tall tales into the stories. I tried to create a climactic tall tale that would reveal the greatest of our wishes and yet remain true to the Chelm and tall-tale genres. Let me know if I succeeded.

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.