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This has been on my wishlist for ages because the promise of representing practicing Jewish characters in the graphic novel format by an ownvoices author sounded just like my kind of thing.Set in Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak To his master s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies the first being that he didn t eat the parrot The rabbi vows to educate him This has been on my wishlist for ages because the promise of representing practicing Jewish characters in the graphic novel format by an ownvoices author sounded just like my kind of thing.Set in Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak To his master s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies the first being that he didn t eat the parrot The rabbi vows to educate him in the ways of the Torah, while the cat insists on studying the kabbalah and having a Bar Mitzvah They consult the rabbi s rabbi, who maintains that a cat can t be Jewish but the cat, as always, knows better.Zlabya falls in love with a dashing young rabbi from Paris, and soon master and cat, having overcome their shared self pity and jealousy, are accompanying the newlyweds to France to meet Zlabya s cosmopolitan in laws Full of drama and adventure, their trip invites countless opportunities for the rabbi and his cat to grapple with all the important and trivial details of life.There s so much I crave to discuss, so let s start at the beginning These topics are ones I see and talk about in my daily life, but unfortunately rarely in the books I read So I ll never stop thanking Joann Sfar for giving Jews this major platform And I loved the concept of the cat wanting to study the Kabbalah, since I recently got myself a book on the same topic I was expecting this book to focus heavily on Zlabya and the cat since they re on the book cover , but that wasn t the case The Rabbi s Cat, like the title suggest, isabout the bickering between the Rabbi and his cat, which I gradually grew fond of On that note, I laughed uncontrollably a number of times at some of thecrude remarks made by the cat, such as I still feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to see these kinds of conversations in a book Ha Family is everythingBut with all that I loved, once the family traveled to Paris to meet with the family of Zlabya s husband the narrative became a bit unclear Plus, the emphasis on Jewish traditions being slowly dropped to make place for Western culture made the graphic novel deteriorate in quality for me I cherished The Rabbi s Cat for solely focusing on Jews in Algeria and their customs and traditions So when halfway through the storyline shifted to make space for Western culture, I was let down The author had such a great opportunity to educate and enlighten people on Sephardi Jews which he did greatly for the first half but then in the last part decides to give the spotlight once again to the Westerns I wish this moment would ve been expanded to talkabout how messed up some white people are All in all The Rabbi s Cat is something I ll cherish for a long time to come it s not everyday that you find something so close to home And thankfully there s a movie adaptation that I plan on watching next 4.5 5 starsNote I m anAffiliate If you re interested in buyingThe Rabbi s Cat, just click on the image below to go through my link I ll make a small commissionThis review andcan be found on my blog Sfar Rabbis Daughter Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia Rabbi s Cat, by French artist and writer Joann Sfar is a graphic novel set in Algeria in the 1930s.Despite how his name sounds in English, the author isn t a woman It s Joann as in Johann John Here he is with the model for his fictional cat Approaching this review, all I could think of at first was cat puns The Cat cher in the Rye The cat without which there is nothing A feline of Sfar Rabbis Daughter Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia Rabbi s Cat, by French artist and writer Joann Sfar is a graphic novel set in Algeria in the 1930s.Despite how his name sounds in English, the author isn t a woman It s Joann as in Johann John Here he is with the model for his fictional cat Approaching this review, all I could think of at first was cat puns The Cat cher in the Rye The cat without which there is nothing A feline of valor although this is a male cat, an un neutered male cat Cat thee behind me And, of course, the cat s pajamas.First thing, the cat gets his tongue he becomes able to speak Next thing you know, he s demanding a bar mitzvah, then to study Kabbalah, and the ensuing theological consternation leads to the first adventure or maybe it s the second already The cat is rebellious He s a handful But so are the people All are very very human, meaning contradictory, struggling, caring, and loving beings, unpredictably tangled up with each others fates.The cat can t understand why anyone would be a rabbi It s as if a cat took it into his head to look after the other cats.The cat doesn t accept fundamentalist theology I answer that even a kitten would not buy this nonsense.The cat has a wolfish look about him This is because he s some sort of skinny Oriental breed with a long nose On Facebook the author says his cat is from Siam.The rabbi s cat and its model from the Facebook page When the cat once again loses his voice, his owner, in the midst of a crisis of faith, thinks God won t speak to him and now his cat doesn t want to speak to him either He of course assumes the cat is not speaking on purpose.This is a serious yet very funny book The author maintains a light touch throughout It s not that, when he needles, his needles aren t sharp They are very sharp indeed, but so artfully applied that the effect is less like piercing than like acupuncture It is all in the family, all done with absolute honesty but with a substrata of understanding and compassion The truth will out, and better out than in, should be his motto.I was excited to find this article before reading the book It s helpful as to the author s background and oeuvre, but didn t quite get to the spirit I felt behind the words and narrative, barbed though it may be.The rabbi s nephew explains why his singing act on the streets of Paris is in the guise of an Arab Because to play a Jew you have to have a Polish accent, and I don t know how to do it Playing a North African Jew just doesn t work people aren t interested it s too complicated for them The public, Uncle, doesn t like things that are complicated.As they approach the nephew s apartment, the rabbi asks if there s anybad news The nephew replies that, no, he s not a pimp, and his girlfriend isn t a whore.She is Catholic though.Youyouand is it serious, you and this young woman Oh, listen, Uncle, with all due respect, shut up No, I m sorry Let me put it this way, man to man I m madly in love with her, but since she s a singer, she s banging half of Paris in addition to me So when she doesn t come home at night, I get drunk, and if it goes on much longer I ll end up blowing my brains out My master lets out a sigh of relief So there hasn t really been any talk of marriage yet, right You are missing the demonic sarcastic smirk on the nephew s face when he made his little speech in this graphic novel.The rabbi is a teddy bear his daughter slant eyed and enticing, the cat is alternately feline and wolfish Words may be the sine qua non, but here the pictures frame them.This is my first graphic novel, the first one I ve ever finished, anyway I read part of Will Eisner s The Plot it was very instructive but I bogged down I have the graphic novel for Stephen King s Dark Tower series I read the books but not the graphic round up And I haven t finished Chast s Can t we talk of somethingpleasantThe Rabbi s Cat may be better, but a key point is I committed to reading it for a book club It s not only wanting to talk about it it s that I said I would.I used to read comic books I left a stack of Archie and Betty and Veronica comics in my childhood closet, and my mother threw them out They would probably have been worth thousands There were some others, too, I think In my young adulthood I had a couple of what I think were early R Crumbs One in particular was instructive Later I hid them from my children and I at least never saw them again I read cartoons and comic strips now, but I expect them to be short I have cartoon collections but really haven t read them straight through It was hard reading words and pictures together I kept going back to look at the pictures Then I got going and realized I was just reading But I kept feeling as though I were forgetting I probably forget most of what I read, too, but there s less to remind me of the process At any rate, mission accomplished.The translation is sharp The book is a movie, too.I used to say Roz Chast is my favorite cartoonist, but now I ll have to say she s my favorite New Yorker cartoonist She does get mean spirited on occasion Given that the author is such a success in France, across the board depictions of France as an antisemitic society can t be the whole picture.What I think is so special about Sfar is that he speaks This book, after all, is about human beings who are Jews I have heard about the period before WWI and the time between the wars that Jews post emancipation achieved the ability to contribute to the societies in which they lived, but in spite of being Jews, not as Jews In modern times such things are no longer supposed to be an issue, but I dare say they still are.So, good for Sfar Sfar, so good. Ignore the Disney esque cover This is an adult oriented graphic novel that tells the story of a rabbi and his daughter in Algeria and for the last third of the novel, in Paris in 1930 The illustrations are strong The cat is merely a device for telling the rabbi s story a story very much of a particular place and culture It s a 4 star read because it s not one I anticipate thinking about in a few months, e.g., it s not that deep, but I am glad I read it, and I loved the picture it pai Ignore the Disney esque cover This is an adult oriented graphic novel that tells the story of a rabbi and his daughter in Algeria and for the last third of the novel, in Paris in 1930 The illustrations are strong The cat is merely a device for telling the rabbi s story a story very much of a particular place and culture It s a 4 star read because it s not one I anticipate thinking about in a few months, e.g., it s not that deep, but I am glad I read it, and I loved the picture it painted of both Algeria and of Paris One of the most beautiful comics I ve ever read And one of the smartest books I ve encountered.I was really sad when I finished it And I really hope I could find the second volume in English. The children are all very loving They succeed in everything they do, they bring me great satisfaction Baruch HaShem Bless you Ah, I love me a classic Jewish gag like that Le Chat du Rabbin is a clever and very charming BD about Algiers s Jewish community in the 1930s, narrated by the titular feline, who early on in the book eats a parrot and gains the ability to talk He immediately demands a bar mitzvah but as you d perhaps expect from a cat, he turns out to be a skeptic at heart So w The children are all very loving They succeed in everything they do, they bring me great satisfaction Baruch HaShem Bless you Ah, I love me a classic Jewish gag like that Le Chat du Rabbin is a clever and very charming BD about Algiers s Jewish community in the 1930s, narrated by the titular feline, who early on in the book eats a parrot and gains the ability to talk He immediately demands a bar mitzvah but as you d perhaps expect from a cat, he turns out to be a skeptic at heart So we start at the beginning, and my master teaches me that the world was created by God five thousand seven hundred years ago or so.I ask him if he s making fun of me He says no, it s the truth.I tell him that s ridiculous, and that with carbon 14 it can be scientifically proven that the world has existed for billions of years.Obviously quoting the words without the artwork is a bit pointless, because half of the fun here is in the characterisation the adorable, dumpy rabbi, his beautiful daughter Zlabya, not to mention the cat himself who appears to be a sphynx breed I don t really know about cats The lettering is handwritten script and the frames are colourful, cosy, lamplit and never less than aesthetically appealing.The author a guy, in case the name confused you is one of the rising stars of French comics precociously talented, he directed the excellent film adaptation of his own Gainsbourg graphic biography back in 2010.For the artwork of Le Chat du Rabbin, he s said he drew inspiration from a long tradition of Algerian art Myself, I couldn t help noticing a distinct resemblance between Zlabya and Henri Matisse s Femme alg rienne, which is hanging in the Pompidou Centre I knew literally nothing about Algeria s Jewish community, so for me this whole thing was a window on a slice of life and history that seems to have received very little attention.The characters are so appealing and so charming that you hardly notice you are being taken on a crash course through religious exposition, intercommunal relations, the meaning of life, dealing with death it is all handled very deftly but there s considerable depth under the surface.In summary better than Garfield A comic book narrative brings a special delight when the story s teller s mood and the graphic artist s method perfectly combine a condition perhaps most easily achieved when the teller and the artist are one So it is with The Rabbi s Cat, the creation of writer and illustrator Joann Sfar.Sfar is a Frenchman, born in Nice, the son of an Sephardic Jewish father from Algeria and an Ashkenazi Jewish mother with a family from Ukraine The setting of The Rabbi s Cat is an Algerian city in the 1930 s A comic book narrative brings a special delight when the story s teller s mood and the graphic artist s method perfectly combine a condition perhaps most easily achieved when the teller and the artist are one So it is with The Rabbi s Cat, the creation of writer and illustrator Joann Sfar.Sfar is a Frenchman, born in Nice, the son of an Sephardic Jewish father from Algeria and an Ashkenazi Jewish mother with a family from Ukraine The setting of The Rabbi s Cat is an Algerian city in the 1930 s, when Jews and Arabs sort of got along The customs and dress here are Sephardic, but I think I detectthan a touch of Ashkenazi humor in the dialogue Western thought, say the eponymous Rabbi, works by thesis, antithesis, synthesis, while Judaism goes thesis, antithesis, antithesis, antithesisBut then again, who I am to judge I know nothing of Sephardic humor.I do, however, know a good looking comic when I see one, and the lush interiors and bright dresses of the women are beautiful, and the Rabbi s daughter Zlabya, and the Rabbi, and the Rabbi s cat are each in their own way very cute.The plot is set into motion by a Garden of Eden sort of crime the Rabbi s cat eats the Rabbi s parrot, and by doing so he gains the gift of speech and first uses his gift to lie he denies that he ate the parrot The Rabbi realizes that he has a Talmudic dilemma on his hands Is a cat who speaks the same as a human Can a speaking cat be considered a Jew And, if so, should a Jewish cat be bar mitzvahed Neither the cat nor the rabbi are sure about all this Much theological speculation ensues The Rabbi s Cat consists of three originally separate comic adventures 1 The Bar Mitvah plot outlined above , 2 Malka of the Lions the Rabbi s fierce cousin Malka and his lion come to visit, the rabbi takes a French exam to gain government status, and a cute young rabbi comes to town 3 Exodus Zlabya and the young rabbi are wed, and they go on a honeymoon with the Rabbi and the cat to visit the young man s family in Paris.Altogether, this is a sweet and charming book The cat like all cats can often be a pain, but he does love his mistress Zlabya Book 2 of 197 Books from 197 Countries, this graphic novel was so different from anything I have read so far Set in Algeria, it takes a reader along through the illustrations in a strange culture and asks all the right questions through the devilish and intellectual cat You need to grab this *READ DOWNLOAD ↷ Il gatto del rabbino ↟ Moujroum furbo, indipendente, curioso e talvolta crudele come ogni gatto Ma ha qualcosa di diverso da tutti gli altri felini dopo aver mangiato l insopportabile pappagallo di casa ha acquistato miracolosamente il dono della parola e ha cominciato immediatamente a farne uso in modo impertinente e sfrontato Per questo il suo padrone, il rabbino Abraham, lo prende con s , sottraendolo alla compagnia della bella figlia Zlabya, con l intento d istruirlo e farlo diventare un buon ebreo Non ha fatto per i conti con l insolenza e lo spirito critico del gatto, insofferente a dogmi e precetti, e capace di tener testa a qualunque maestro In realt , pi di ogni altra cosa Moujroum desidera tornare tra le braccia dell amata padrona, e per farlo disposto a tutto Mentre la sua educazione procede, il gatto non rinuncia a esplorare i vicoli della sua Algeri, e si trova perfino ad attraversare il mare per raggiungere Parigi con i suoi padroni con lo stesso sguardo penetrante scruta umani e animali, ebrei e arabi, studenti di teologia e miscredenti irremovibili, colonizzatori europei e colonizzati africani Intriso dell umorismo tipico del la tradizione ebraica, Il gatto del rabbino un ciclo di racconti di cui questo volume raccoglie i primi tre che ha il sapore di una favola moderna ambientata nell Algeria di inizio Novecento, una terra magica, affascinante e piena di contraddizioni Sfar dosa sapientemente ironia e riflessioni filosofiche, questioni religiose e momenti di pure comicit , e col suo tratto leggero ci riconduce a scoprire la nostra realt umana con occhi nuovi, gli occhi di un gatto In this delightful and uproariously funny parable set in Algeria in the 1930s, the rabbi s cat, a conniving, profane cat who appears to be a blue Abyssinian, devours a garrulous parrot, thereby acquiring the bird s power of speech The clever but prevaricating cat immediately launches into a campaign to get himself a Bar Mitzvah despite the opposition of both the rabbi and the rabbi s rabbi Eventually, the rabbi relents due to the intervention of the rabbi s beautiful daughter, Zlabya to wh In this delightful and uproariously funny parable set in Algeria in the 1930s, the rabbi s cat, a conniving, profane cat who appears to be a blue Abyssinian, devours a garrulous parrot, thereby acquiring the bird s power of speech The clever but prevaricating cat immediately launches into a campaign to get himself a Bar Mitzvah despite the opposition of both the rabbi and the rabbi s rabbi Eventually, the rabbi relents due to the intervention of the rabbi s beautiful daughter, Zlabya to whom both cat and rabbi are completely devoted Thus, begins the instruction of the cat in the ways of the Torah, although the cat would much prefer to begin with the Kabbalah The atheistic cat and the devout rabbi debate the most important questions of their time and ours science versus religion, why evil occurs, the impenetrable nature of God, how best to live aperfect life in an imperfect world Unsurprisingly, the cat often getting the better part of the argument Even so, both develop a closer bond and develop as dare I use the term people But it s on the visit to Paris that the cat really shines Zlabya meets and instantly falls in love with Jules Nahum, a Paris born rabbi come to take over a nearby congregation Zlabya and Jules soon marry, and with father and cat in tow the happy couple head to Paris for a visit to the in laws The rabbi cannot find a thing to like in the City of Lights, criticizing everything, from the weather to the prayer habits of the synagogue goers, until finally Jules has hadthan enough And that s when the biggest adventure begins for man and beast French artist writer Joann Sfar won the prestigious Jury Prize at Angoul me for The Rabbi s Cat, and it s easy to see why The dialogue is clever and, at times, laugh out loud funny, and the illustrations so closely evoke the Algeria and Paris of a bygone day that you can nearly smell the berbouche d Alger and the garlicky escargot At 142 pages, you can finish this slim volume at a sitting and, trust me, you won t be able to stop yourself from reading cover to cover all at once Be sure to take a look in the back at the dust jacket to catch a glimpse at the inspiration for the cat on Sfar s chest This is an American compliation and translation of three related French graphic novel tales about the life of a Sephardic Algerian rabbi s cat in colonial Algeria round about the 1930s The first of the three stories was my favorite, as the cat gains the power of speech after devouring a pet parrot and proceeds to argue theology and philosophy, requesting a Bar Mitzvah while also questioning the existence of God The second story is an adaption of a classic French fable by Fontaine and includes This is an American compliation and translation of three related French graphic novel tales about the life of a Sephardic Algerian rabbi s cat in colonial Algeria round about the 1930s The first of the three stories was my favorite, as the cat gains the power of speech after devouring a pet parrot and proceeds to argue theology and philosophy, requesting a Bar Mitzvah while also questioning the existence of God The second story is an adaption of a classic French fable by Fontaine and includes a romance for the cat s mistress, the rabbi s daughter, as well as a visit from a lion and a trip to a gravesite with a Sufi mystic In the third and final story, the rabbi and the cat join the daughter and her rich husband on a honeymoon trip to Paris The cat is a wonderful character, the artwork welcomes one in like a cozy fire on a winter s night I know that s probably a bad simile given a North African setting, but the artwork makes me feel welcome, and as an Outsider I can learn fascinating things about the life, beliefs, and practices of the North African Jews, both in colonial Africa and in 1930s Paris, in a meaningful yet playful way by following the cat as he moves with feline grace and intent from panel to panel