OK, so maybe the book is just a satire of prophet stories of the Torah, but it’s a good one at that. Bader is also the author of “Haikus for Jews” and “How to Be an Extremely Reform Jew,” so the man knows his wit. Bader talked to the Chronicle about Murray, himself and his favorite bible heroes.
Jewish Chronicle: The world’s been in existence for thousands of years with just the books of the Bible we know. Why does the world need Murray right now?
David M. Bader: It’s true that we already have a lot to work with. But have you ever really tried to read The Book of Ezekiel? Tough going. Also, to the best of my knowledge, unlike Murray, none of the better-known ancient prophets ever attended a themed bar mitzva. So we need Murray for that. I would also note that Murray made predictions that the others completely missed. Jeremiah prophesied that Jews would return to Jerusalem, but only Murray foresaw that the Jews would also end up in Brooklyn.
JC: When you uncovered the Book of Murray in Boca, what was your first reaction?
DB: To be accurate, I didn’t personally find the book. It was found in a buried clay vessel by a golfer trying to chip out of a sand trap. Of course, when it was handed over to me, my initial reaction was skepticism. How could it possibly be authentic? But by that time, scientists had already verified that the parchment was quite old. They had also verified that stains on the parchment contained traces of brisket, which was, for me, the clincher. Disbelief was not an option.
JC: What is the most important lesson for us to learn from Murray?
DB: Thou shalt not freelance? Always get more than one estimate? Murray’s own life story is a lesson of sorts – before becoming a messenger of God, he was a Hebrew school dropout. So not everyone tests well. Yet he went on to teach and inspire. It’s hard for me to pick just one lesson we can learn from Murray. For the upcoming New Year, maybe we should remember his words, “Thou shalt not treat the Jewish High Holidays as an opportunity to stay home and wait for the cable guy.”
JC: Aside from Murray, who is your favorite character from the Bible? Why?
DB: I would have to go with David. He was flawed, yes, but that just added to the drama of his amazing life. He was a great king and poet and, unlike a lot of other kings around that time, he managed to die peacefully in bed. Also, he could play an instrument.
JC: What’s next for you? Are you working on any new books?
DB: Yes, well, I’m always thinking about something new. I have other book ideas that I’m hoping will one day amount to something. And you never know when another ancient scroll may suddenly turn up on a golf course somewhere.
(Justin Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com.)