Ordained rabbi Gidon Rothstein is also a master teacher and storyteller. Aside from his well-received academic writings in the fields of Bible and Jewish studies, Rothstein has a gift for casting traditional themes in a popular fictional format. His first novel, Murder in the Mikdash, takes place in post Messianic Israel and so realistically portrays what life would have been like at that time that it now has a teacher’s guide.
In Cassandra Misreads the Book of Samuel & Other Untold Tales of the Prophets, Rothstein retells several Biblical stories in contemporary language that nevertheless retains the flavor of the period in which the stories take place. The Bible often leaves much unsaid, and the Midrash frequently fills in some of the gaps. Here Rothstein creates his own midrash for several Biblical episodes. Taking liberties with the text and inventing dialogue, he tells us what could have been said. What did Eli’s sons say to their father? How does one train to be a prophet and how does a prophet get his books (i.e. scrolls) published? What was it like for a family to experience the episode of the Golden Calf? Rothstein’s answers are fascinating. His stories feel authentic, despite the contemporary idiom. He blends deep knowledge and respect for the Biblical text with rabbinic and contemporary scholarship, resulting in an enchanting book filled with lessons about truth, courage, and meaning.
Wallace Greene, Ph.D., has held several university appointments, and currently writes and lectures on Jewish and historical subjects.