The Yiddish literary tradition is full of bizarre characters, offhand curses and incantations, self-deprecatory humor, and a deep sense of humanity. It’s a tradition spun by hearty survivalists who have been to hell and back and know how to laugh about it. Steve Stern’s THE FROZEN RABBI fits the mold quite well.
There are two stories here. The first concerns the nominally Jewish teen Bernie Karp --- overweight, boring and irritating --- stimulated only by food and pornography. In Memphis, Tennessee, he lives with his equally reprobate family, as uncaring, unpleasant and spiritually deadened as he. One day, while rifling through the basement freezer, Bernie d