The Kissing Rabbi
Lust, Betrayal, and a Community Turned Inside Out
by Andy Becker
Pub Date 12 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 28 Oct 2021
Tree of the Field Publishing, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
In a quiet suburb outside Portland, Oregon, a Jewish community is about to have their world rocked!
Rabbi Dreidel, a young, charismatic Orthodox rabbi, moves into a quiet suburb to assemble a congregation from scratch. Schmoozing with every Jewish man and woman he can find, his fledgling synagogue quickly grows into a robust community.
Underneath a well-rehearsed veneer of righteousness is an unrestrained desire to explore his sexuality with multiple women. Of course, the rabbi can't admit to that, so he pretends that he wants to improve his marriage, and the best way to "learn" how to please his wife is to seek out women for some very detailed and explicit sexual advice.
At first, the women naively sympathize with their rabbi who appears so forlorn and desperate. But as his questions become graphic, and as forbidden hugs and lingering embraces begin to feel more like foreplay than friendliness, his real intentions emerge.
In a patriarchal Orthodox community, it's unusual for women to speak out, yet a few brave whistleblowers begin to share their stories - so the rabbi scrambles to lawyer up, while rallying his supporters in the community. He is prepared to fight and will go to any length to retain his position and prevent his world from crumbling. Members of a shocked congregation choose sides, leading to a community on the brink of being ripped apart.
Will the rabbi win out? Will the women's stories be heard and believed? And will the community survive? Find out in The Kissing Rabbi.
“Andrew Becker writes with humor and considerable charm. The Kissing Rabbi is a wholly original novel that will leave readers wanting more from Becker. Five stars.”
—Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author
“So you want to hear the real story of Rabbi Mishegas Dreidel? The whole schmeer is a story as old as Jerusalem and as new as today’s politics. The young rabbi, his wife, and nine kids show up in Destiny, Oregon filled with missionary zeal. He opens a synagogue in their basement, builds his flock, earns its trust,
borrows a million dollars from a friendly banker for a towering house of worship, and off he goes to repair the world. Part of that mission includes unwanted advances with women of the temple, questionable synagogue financial dealings kept secret, and a steadfast refusal to admit anything done wrong. This story is told with just the right touch of satire, humor, insight, and the hope it won’t happen again.”
—Bob Hill, Award-winning Louisville Courier-Journal columnist and author
“With a wry sense of humor and colorful cast of characters (in fact, you probably know people like them), Becker dissects the lamentable fall from grace of a well-intended shepherd turned wolf. A witty and timely parable that keeps you wondering how some people never seem to learn from their mistakes. Entertaining and reflective.”
—Larry Fowler, Award winning author
“The Kissing Rabbi humorously shines a light on a dark and heavy subject—narcissistic abuse by a religious authority figure. This story is a real page-turner and very relatable—highly recommended!”
—Yitz Epstein, Life coach and host, Narcissism Recovery Podcast
“You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy Andrew Becker’s novel, The Kissing Rabbi! Meet Rabbi Mishegas (Mishy) Dreidel who establishes a Jewish community in the Christian Destiny County area while building a magnificent synagogue from a simple set-up in his basement, but even the holy can fall from grace. You won’t be able to stop reading because you will want to know what’s going to happen to the rabbi, his wife, and nine kids in a world of Jewish courts, close-knit families, and loyal supporters. Go inside the secret and hidden world of ultra-orthodox Judaism to see how power corrupts and how sexual harassment can destroy a community.”
—Patty Lesser, Author of Sister Innocent and several novels
Average rating from 4 members
I really enjoyed this book - the situation escalates quickly and shows what kind of disaster a little narcissism and power can make. I appreciated the explanations throughout the book when coming across unfamiliar words. Even though I know very little about the Jewish community, it was a story that anyone can relate to. It's always difficult to read a book in which you don't connect to the main character however the story line was easy to connect to. Several times I thought 'ughh why doesn't he stop?' And yet it shows how our own distorted thinking can keep us from seeing the real issues. It is a little gossipy and a lot of 'he said - she said'. Drama galore is happening within the community. Thank you to the author for allowing me to read this as an ARC in exchange for a review.