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Book Reviews
The Naked Rabbi
By: Jonathan Romain - Christian Alternative, $16.95

Description: What is it really like being a minister of religion? How much Vicar of Dibley, dealing with dotty parishioners and how much Rev, wading through social dilemmas and individual crises?

The Naked Rabbi takes a serious, but also affectionate, look at the life of a rabbi, which will resonate with any person of faith.

Verdict: In The Naked Rabbi: His Colourful Life, Campaigns and Controversies, Jonathan Romain opens a remarkable window onto cycle of life areas - from birth to betrothal to burial - along with the joys, hiccups and tragedies in between.

He also charts how he has put sermons into action, speaking out on issues such as pioneering a more welcoming approach to mixed-faith couples, trying to make faith schools more inclusive, arguing for assisted dying to be legalized, and intervening in the 2020 General Election against Jeremy Corbyn.

Now, as Iím sure you are all aware by now, a Rabbi is not a priest, neither in the Jewish sense of the term nor in the Christian sense of the term. In the Christian sense of the term, a priest is a person with special authority to perform certain sacred rituals. A Rabbi, on the other hand, has no more authority to perform rituals than any other adult male member of the Jewish community.

Indeed, a Rabbi is simply a teacher, a person sufficiently educated in halakhah (Jewish law) and tradition to instruct the community and to answer questions and resolve disputes regarding halakhah. When a person has completed the necessary course of study, he is given a written document known as a semikhah, which confirms his authority to make such decisions.

Thus here in Jonathanís new book, speaking on a wide variety of subjects that showcase the circle of life already shown to him, you will find endlessly funny, compelling, intriguing, thought provoking, and intellectually acute ponderings within his peak behind the Rabbi curtain, so to speak.

A man devoutly expressive in his beliefs and devotions, Jonathan - one of the most prominent holders of his position/title in the United Kingdom - opens our eyes to some of the most important figures within past and present social and political debates that have centered around his life; each one as entertaining a painted scene as the next.

Containing chapters such as Once Upon a Rabbi, River Jews, Scratch, Ouch! The Difficult Bits and Fifteen Minutes of Fame (x4), The Naked Rabbi: His Colourful Life, Campaigns and Controversies doesnít palm us off with a subtle scratch at the surface of Jonathanís aforementioned life, campaigns and controversies, moreover it rips the band-aid off, exposes everything to the core, and welcomes you in to view and at some level, judge for yourself if what goes on behind the curtain is relevant to you or not.

About the Author - Rabbi, writer and broadcaster, Jonathan Romain is minister of Maidenhead Synagogue and one of Britainís leading rabbis. He writes for The Times, Jewish Chronicle and other religious papers, and is often heard or seen on the BBC. He lives in Maidenhead, UK.

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