Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Comic Torah Review - Jewish Library Association

Freeman, Aaron and Sharon Rosenzweig. The Comic Torah: Reimagining the
Very Good Book. Teaneck, NJ: Ben Yehuda Press, 2010. 112 pp. $35.00 hc
(9781934730539); $19.95 pbk. (9781934730546).

As Jews, we are supposed to study Torah and find meaning in our
interpretation of it. This book is a unique piece of midrash. Aaron
Freeman, a comedian and NPR commentator, and his wife Sharon
Rosenzweig, an artist, have created a series of 54 cartoon panels, one
for each weekly parashah. They tell the stories as no one has ever
told them. Some readers may find them irreverent, but the approach is
both humorous and thought-provoking. The portrayal of God as a woman
and the use of celebrity caricatures for biblical characters (Cheech
and Chong as Nadav and Abihu, Elliot Spitzer as Laban) are original.
Telling the story of the Jewish people as a romantic relationship
between Moses and God with elements of Family Feud added puts a
different spin on it. The authors encourage readers to la’asok
b’divrei Torah (immerse oneself in Torah), depicting themselves diving
into a Torah scroll on the title page. This is a true invitation to
study because, as the celebrity Joshua character says, “Yes we
Can-aan.” This will be a great source for discussion in Torah study
groups and book clubs in non-Orthodox congregations.

Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA; Congregation
Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA

No comments: