Tales of the Village Rabbi: A Manhattan Chronicle

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9780759233195: Tales of the Village Rabbi: A Manhattan Chronicle

In the late fifties and sixties, Greenwich Village was the quirkiest, most charming, jazzy, eccentric and urban of environments, the center of all that was both quaint and "cool": brownstones and beatniks, coffeehouses and college students, folksingers and freethinkers, poets and "prophets." Into this fascinating mix of cultural archetypes came a young rabbi, Harvey M. Tattelbaum, who became known as the Village Rabbi of the Village Temple. The spirit of Sholom Aleichem infuses his Tales of the Village Rabbi, a touching and laugh-out-loud funny memoir of his tenure at a small synagogue in the heart of Greenwich Village. Though his years in this magical place were productive and soul-filling, rabbinical training hadn't exactly prepared him for the bikers, thieves, ex-cons, eccentric old ladies, drug-users, cleavage-baring brides and other Village denizens he encountered while serving the congregants of his spirited little temple. Rabbi Tattelbaum shares his insider's tales-both downtown and uptown-of wayward weddings (and funerals), contentious Temple boards, irreverent interfaith shenanigans, heartaches and triumphs. But the Tales also reveal a deep personal struggle with some of the most profound philosophical problems of ancient and modern religion and are filled with a warm, humane and rational approach to spirituality and religious meaning.

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About the Author:

Rabbi Harvey Tattelbaum was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and was educated at Harvard University and the Hebrew College, which he attended simultaneously, and he graduated with honors from both in the same week of June 1955. He was awarded a traveling fellowship for a year’s study at the Hebrew University in Jersualem. Upon return to the United States, he enrolled in the Hebrew College Union College (Jewish Institute of Religion of New York), where he was ordained a rabbi in 1960. Drafted into the military by his own rabbinic organization (CCAR), he served as a Navy Chaplain assigned to the US Marines at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot for two years. Upon leaving active duty, he was appointed assistant rabbi at Temple Shaaray Tefila in Manhattan for three years, served as Rabbi of “the Village Temple” (Congregation B’nai Israel of Greenwich Village) for six years, and then returned to Shaaray Tefila as senior rabbi for the remaining thirty years of his career. Tattelbaum is married to the former Meryl Herrmann of New York City, and they have three married children and seven grandchildren. They both adore the excitement and vitality of Manhattan as well as their lakeside Connecticut country home, where most of the “village tales” were actually written.

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Rabbi Harvey M. Tattelbaum
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