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Reviews of The Rabbi of Bacherach and Other Stories

“Many of the tales by the German-Jewish Romantic poet gathered in this fine collection were translated into English and published separately in the U.S. and Europe. This marks the first time they appear together in one volume. The stories illustrate Heine’s fascination with Jewish medieval traditions and condemn anti-Semitism. The most haunting tale, ‘The Rabbi of Bacherach,’ vividly describes a Passover feast at the home of a rabbi who lives in the Jewish ghetto of a medieval German town. During the celebration, unfamiliar guests leave a Christian child’s corpse under the table so that the rabbi will be accused of ritual murder, but the rabbi escapes the lynch mob. Another interesting prose piece, ‘Shylock,’ skillfully defends the Jewish merchant whose tragic fate in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice has come to represent prejudice against Jews. Also included here are Heine’s ironic narrative poems, ‘Hebrew Melodies.’ This is a lyrical and persuasive compilation.”
— Publishers Weekly

The Rabbi of Bacherach includes a wonderful description of a Passover seder … The story, essay, and poems collected in this volume reveal Heine’s abiding fascination with and deep love for his ancestral religion, justifying his being considered the ‘first modern Jewish writer of international stature’ … Perhaps the most historically important work in the book is the essay ‘Shylock,’ the first modern defense of the persecuted Jew, and extended gloss on the ‘hath not a Jew eyes’ speech.”
Judaica Book Review