Sunday, October 13, 2013

On "Scold" by Arthur Diamond (6334 words) ****

Diamond's "Scold" works off a set of stereotypes--or rather, it begins there and asks us to think about them in the context of religion. Rabbi Barsimson, along with a black nurse, helps an Asian lady who falls down one day in the street. The black nurse makes a series of comments about Jews that essentially places the rabbi into a set of typically Jewish distinctives he doesn't fit. The story shifts here to the rabbi's congregation, which is selecting a new rabbi--one who is a lesbian who uses puppetry as part of her sermons. The older members in the congregation have no interest in such a rabbi; the younger ones, however, support her. Barsimson seems both supportive and dismissive of the new way--he knows that he can't change what's coming, but he recognizes that it must be accepted, just like the fact that the congregation itself will likely dissolve in the next year, replaced with a mosque (unbeknownst to most of the lay people). The key, perhaps, is to stick together, to help one another, Barsimson seems to hint, but he never quite manages to articulate it other than with the bloodstains that still rest on his pants. Read the story here at Ascent.

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