Rabbi Harvey Rides Again
A Graphic Novel of Jewish Folktales Let Loose in the Wild West
By Steve Sheinkin
Jewish Lights Publishing, 2008, 127 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - March 14, 2011
This is the second in a so-far three volume series of humorous narratives told with cartoon graphics. The hero is Rabbi Harvey the old-style clever bearded and heavy eye-browed rabbi wearing a big black hat in the 1880s, in Elk Spring, Colorado, in the Old West. The rabbi is able to answer everyone's questions and solve their problems. There are ten stories in this book, just as in the first volume, and some are comprised of several episodes. All are based on ancient Jewish humorous and morality stories. Sheinkin gives his sources, which include the Talmud, and tales about Chassidim such as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and the Maggid of Mezeritch.
Wasserman the outlaw reappears in this volume as well as the cunning contest "Stump the Rabbi," which cost questioners five cents. A new character is introduced, Abigail the luckless gold miner who becomes Elk Spring's school mum. The witty tales include, the time the wind blew away Abigail's food. She traveled to question the much-heralded shrewd Rabbi Harvey, who she meets for the first time. She asks him to litigate her case against the wind for its thievery. There are also funny reports about the man who dreamed that he would find a treasure in Denver and left home to get it, and about the contest at the rabbis' convention to decide which rabbi could find the most precious item, and the poor couple who wrote to God begging for money since they were cold and starving, and the time when Rabbi Harvey's cart driver changed places with him so that the driver could see how the rabbi reacted to questions when they came to a town that had never seen the famous sharp rabbi before.