The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar The rabbi, his daughter and their cat live in Algeria. In the first story, the cat, previously able to communicate only in the usual way of cats, eats the rabbi’s parrot and is magically able to talk. Now he wants his own bar mitzvah, and argues strongly in his own defense both to the rabbi and the rabbi’s rabbi. Doesn’t being a rabbi’s cat mean he’s Jewish? Doesn’t he know the Torah well from helping the rabbi study? Indeed he does. He offers sarcastic but pithy comments on Judaism and humans in general. The sharpness of his critique is offset by his absolute adoration of the rabbi’s beautiful daughter. The saturated, squiggly drawings are perfect for this story of cats, people, and religion that is both funny and slyly serious. And while the thinky-thoughts are there, the characters and exotic setting are also worth paying attention to. This is one that I’d been meaning to read since it first came out, and I am so glad I finally did.
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