This wonderful book is available at Amazon:
A few weeks ago, I had breakfast with someone who was planning to start Rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary. After the meeting, he emailed me about a book called A Delightful Compendium of Consolation by Rabbi Burton Visotzky, who teaches at JTS.
A Delightful Compendium is historical fiction and traces the lives of a Karaite Jewish family as they navigate through the Middle Ages. The family members struggle to hold onto their Karaite identity as a minority in the Jewish world.
Today, I am excited to catch up with Rabbi Visotzky about his book, A Delightful Compendium.
All in the Family: Not Written by Karaites
CNN’s Belief Blog recently described how Archie Bunker, a caricature of a pre-civil-rights-movement bigot and the patriarch on the television series All in the Family, is taken to task by his liberal son-in-law for being an anti-Semite. To convince Archie to abandon his anti-Semitic views, Archie’s son-in-law reminds him that Jesus was Jewish. Archie comically quips back, “Only on his mother’s side.”
Archie’s rejoinder is interesting on many levels. If (as according to Christian theology) Jesus is the son of God, Jesus’ non-maternal lineage actually bolsters (not lessens) the point that Archie should not have ill-feelings towards Jews.
Archie’s response also strikes another religious chord; according to generally accepted Jewish beliefs, a child is Jewish if his mother is Jewish. Under this view, Jesus’ maternal Jewish lineage is the all that matters, which also supports Archie’s son-in-law’s argument.
Apparently, the writers of All in the Family were not Karaites.