Mitz­vah Man

  • Review
By – December 2, 2011
The orig­i­nal com­ic book super­heroes were born out of the need to find moral­i­ty and jus­tice in a threat­en­ing world. So now, along­side Super­man, Spi­der­man, and Bat­man is a new ver­sion of the super­hero. Born out of tragedy and grief – he is Mitz­vah Man!

The Mitz­vah Man John J. Clay­ton cre­ates is Adam Fried­man. He los­es his wife in a hor­ri­ble and untime­ly car acci­dent while he is off preen­ing about his suc­cess and lifestyle at a twen­ty-fifth prep school class reunion. Wrapped in grief, he is sur­round­ed by a cast of char­ac­ters that read­ers will eas­i­ly relate to.

The Mitz­vah Man search­es his soul con­stant­ly, com­munes with God and nature, and takes him­self on a con­fused, some­times fool­ish, and yet ulti­mate­ly intel­li­gent jour­ney through death and life.

He begins to per­form small mitzvot and then braver and greater ones. His teenage daugh­ter presents him with her hand­made Mitz­vah Man tee shirt and he is thrust into the pub­lic spot­light. His pub­li­cized good deeds attract admir­ers, get-rich-quick schemers, fol­low­ers, and detrac­tors. Is he a false prophet or a real hero? A storm of con­tro­ver­sy over­takes him as he tries to hold onto his life and daugh­ter while con­tin­u­ing to stand up for good in a world that is falling apart and quick to judge.

Clayton’s enter­tain­ing style abounds with ref­er­ences to music, lit­er­a­ture, reli­gion, and Jew­ish his­to­ry and cus­toms while deal­ing with many uni­ver­sal ques­tions.

What is the role of God in one’s life? How does doing for oth­ers give solace and mean­ing to one’s own grief? Can one over­come deep fears to be true to one’s call­ing? How do the love of fam­i­ly and the good­ness of friend­ship affect lives? What is the role of good and evil in one’s life choic­es? Mitz­vah Man is a time­ly book that reflects the world that Adam Fried­man lives in. It nib­bles at and chal­lenges the read­er to find the Mitz­vah Man with­in ourselves.

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

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