Dear Friends of Israel:

Rabbis, claims author Bill Adler, need “the patience of Job, the humor of Harry Golden, the tenacity of Charles DeGaulle, the oratorical splendor of Adlai Stevenson, the charm of Douglas Fairbanks, the financial acumen of Bernard Baruch, the tenderness of an angel, and the strength of Hercules.”

In a non-book for nebbishes, Dear Rabbi (Morrow, $2), Reformed Jew Adler presents some pungent demands and delightful moments that crowd rabbis’ lives. Children write:

• “Can a cheater and a liar go to heaven? I am writing for my brother Freddy.”

• “Class 4 needs all the information you have on God in a hurry.”

• “If we are all made in God’s image, why is it some of us are pretty and some of us are ugly?”

• “Please answer this question for me. I would like an honest answer. Is it fun to be Jewish?”

• “I keep praying and praying and nothing good ever happens to me.”

• “Jesus was my favorite Jew.”

The Dear Rabbi letters from grown-ups include these:

• “Do you think I should tell my fiancé that I had a nose job before or after the wedding?”

• “For your next sermon would you preach on infidelity and look straight at my husband?”

• “Thank you … for your wonderful words at Robert’s funeral. You said such nice things about him that for a few minutes I wasn’t sure you were talking about Robert.”

• “My boyfriend and I would like to find out if Reform Jews believe in trial marriages.”

• “Could you please make sure our wedding ceremony doesn’t take longer than thirty minutes, as my financé and I are anxious to leave right away on our honeymoon?”

Of his many published collections of letters and wit, Adler considers this his most enjoyable. It shows that for rabbis—and all other clergymen—a sense of humor is indispensable.



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