The “prophet” Murray rails at the excesses of the Jewish community. The targets of the “prophet” Murray are garish bar mitzvah ceremonies, non-Jewish names stuck on Jewish children, and look-alike synagogue buildings. The “prophet” Murray also makes a case against the clannishness of Brooklyn.
The quotes around Murray’s title are more real than Murray is.
Murray is the alter ego of Manhattan attorney David Bader, who skewered the foibles and stereotypes of American Jewish life in his first three books, “How to Be an Extremely Reform Jew,” “Zen Judaism” and “Haikus for Jews,” all of which attracted a devoted following on the Internet.
His newest book, “The Book of Murray” (Harmony Books, $14.99), offers more puns, silliness and gentle mockery of American-Jewish culture.
Murray, is, according to the book’s introduction, a “Hebrew school dropout” whose writings were discovered in a “buried earthenware vessel” on a sand trap of the 14th hole of the Kibbitzing Pines Country Club in Boca Raton.
Bader’s book is replete with biblical imagery like infertility and a doubting public, biblical language, and chapter headings written in a biblical font. Think Dead Sea Scrolls, but with more punch lines.
Murray comments on:
– Jewish parenthood: “He that spareth the rod hateth his child, but he that nameth his child Lexington Dakota Schwartz hateth his child even more.”
– Jewish divisiveness: “And He will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of the four corners of the earth into one place, where they shall barely be on speaking terms. And that place shall be called Brooklyn.”
– Jewish architecture: “And thou shalt set up houses of worship in every city and suburb. And they shall be like unto the Temple of Solomon, if Solomon had been fond of poured-concrete polyhedrons.”
– Jewish disdain for tradition: “Thou shalt not treat the Jewish high holidays as an opportunity to stay home and wait for the cable guy.”
“I didn’t want to be completely ha-ha. I didn’t want to harangue people,” Bader [extremely.com], a largely self-educated Reform Jew who lives on the Upper East Side, says of the book’s thematic balance. “The [real] prophets were constantly going to parties and being party poopers.”
How did Murray and his scrolls end up in southern Florida? Simple: Murray and his cousin-adviser Lenny “journeyed through the lands of the Amorites, the Jebusites, the Edomites, the Socialites, and the Transvestites. They visited Babylon, Jericho, and Great Neck. Then they took the Belt Parkway south and continued until they reached Boca Raton.”
The book is coming out, appropriately, in time for the High Holy Days. “People can read it,” Bader says, “and it will give them something to atone for.”