And yet, there's a new book by our neighbor Shmuley Boteach called "Kosher Jesus." We did an Amazon-read of the book, meaning we read whatever Amazon let us in its preview window, without actually buying the book. It's a good thing we did not buy it. The book has been banned by some of our Orthodox rabbinical colleagues.
Of course getting a book banned is the dream of every author and publisher. In theory it sends sales skyrocketing. "Banned in Boston" makes people interested.
According to news reports (Rabbis decry Jesus book, UPI), at least one Orthodox rabbi has said directly that the book is heretical.
"Boteach's latest book is apikorsus and must be treated as such," Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf of Chicago said Jan. 10, using a Hebrew word that roughly translates as heresy. Wolf said he had "utter contempt" for the idea of the book: He had only read its title.
Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet wrote on an Orthodox Jewish Web site saying, based on his interpretation of Jewish law, the book "poses a tremendous risk to the Jewish community." He also said it was "forbidden for anyone to buy or read this book, or give its author a platform in any way, shape or form to discuss this topic."
The Times said Boteach was furious when he responded.
"We in the Jewish community have a choice. We can either, as has happened for 2,000 years, allow the Christian community to teach us about the Christian Christ, or we can take the initiative and the responsibility of teaching the Christian community about the Jewish Jesus. He was a Jew, after all," Boteach said.