The Congregation

Morton Levine, Author Putnam Publishing Group $17.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-399-13022-9
There ought to be a special place reserved in the hereafter for characters who've been unfairly abused in their fictional worlds. Young rabbi David Benjamin is a case in point. On one hand, he's required to be an idealistic, charismatic leader of a Detroit congregation, an intellectual and an honored member of the community; on the other, an unwilling adulterer, an unwitting particpant in a Mafia-run operation and an embezzler of Temple Beth Sinai's funds. Because David is never more than a cardboard character, he moves through the narrative as the feckless victim of one implausible circumstance after another. There are some risible moments (however unintentioned) in which the rabbi seems to be departing this novel for one of Barbara Cartland's: his mistress comes equipped with ""titian hair, swan's-neck arms'' and a voice capable of ``whimpering a wind-chime of pleasure.'' Readers who are tittilated by tales of a clergyman's fall from grace will probably love every improbable page. Levine is a rabbi at the University of Pennsylvania. December 11
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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