Book Review: Adirondack Mendel’s Aufruf: Welcome to Chelm’s Pond by Sandor Schuman

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About:
Adirondack Mendel’s Aufruf: Welcome to Chelm’s Pond by Sandor Schuman is a fictional book, taking place in upstate New York which reprises some of the old Jewish tales of the fools of Chelm.

The authoris giv­ing away one copy of this book –to enter fill out the Raf­fle­copt­ter form at the end of the post.

  • 119 pages
  • Publisher: This Too Shall Pass Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988628503

Book Review Adirondack Mendels Aufruf Welcome to Chelms Pond by Sandor Schuman

My rating for Welcome to Chelm’s Pond – 5

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*

Thoughts:
When I was contacted and offered Adirondack Mendel’s Aufruf: Welcome to Chelm’s Pond by Sandor Schuman (website | Facebook) I immediately jumped on the chance. I remember the tales of these fabulous fools from my childhood. I remember my grandfather telling me these folklore stories (which I’m sure he grew up on) and I remember how much I enjoyed them as well.

But it seems that Mr. Schuman knew that already before contacting me, after all he stated upfront that “a Jewish story is one that a non-Jew wouldn’t understand, and a Jewish person has already heard”. Of course non-Jews would enjoy these stories as well but maybe not as much since self-deprecation is a staple in Jewish folklore.

The Wise Men of Chelm are a bunch of popular Jewish folklore stories. Chelm is a town in Poland (about 65 KM southeast of Lublin) and were passed down through the generations verbally or through books in Yiddish. Many of the stories feature the men doing absolutely foolish things. Like many of the stories the title “Wise Men” is said in irony which is a common feature in European folklore.

The moment I read the first paragraph I knew I’d like the book as it kept in line with the Eastern European tradition of the stories, they were persuaded to leave Poland by a shrewd real-estate agent who promised them that:

“every acre is two, you can till the soil with a teaspoon, and there are not only four seasons, but there are a five”.

The tales of Chelm are usually outlandish stories of stupidity or naiveté and Mr. Schuman does a wonderful job bringing them across the Atlantic. On one of the stories, about choosing a mother-in-law, I was laughing so hard I had to call my wife.

This book is a fast read and includes a very handy Yiddish and slang glossary as well as a study guide (available for free download). The book is full of wonderful illustrations which capture not only characters, but also the spirit of the stories whether in Europe or New York.

Synopsis:

Bloomie is the ambitious proprietor of The Broiled Beet – serving the finest in Adirondack-Ashkenazick fusion cuisine – and the loveliest, kindest, and sincerest sheyne meydl in all of Chelm’s Pond. Adirondack Mendel is the renowned adventurer, woodsman, mountain man, and Adirondack guide who always tells the truth even if he has to lie to do it. When they are brought together by Aufruf, the talking dog (who used to do spy work for Colin Powell, from whom he learned a bissel Yiddish), they fall in love.

Guided by the learned, honored, and beloved Rabbi Chayim Shmayim, the oldest and wisest khokhem in Chelm’s Pond, the results raise serious questions about the nature of God and the meaning of prayer, but in an extraordinary way that could happen only in Chelm’s Pond.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*

Give­away

  • Give­away ends: June 03, 2013

  • US Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

 

Congratulations: name as email

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free .
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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