Congregation Ahavas Achim

Return to the Congregation Ahavas Achim Website

Havdalah/ Pizza Dinner/ Movie & Book Discussion

Description: Older teens and adults are invited to join us at the synagogue on Saturday evening, December 14, for Havdalah, pizza, movie-viewing and discussion of both the film and graphic novel versions of The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar, one of France’s most celebrated young comics artists. The Rabbi’s Cat tells a unique story of a rabbi, his daughter, and their talking cat–a philosopher brimming with scathing humor and surprising tenderness. (Although the move is based upon two graphic novels, they are not written for children—the books contain some sexual content, and the philosphical musings may go over children’s heads—but older teens should be intrigued.)

In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master’s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn’t eat the parrot). The rabbi vows to educate him in the ways of the Torah, while the cat insists on studying the kabbalah and having a Bar Mitzvah. They consult the rabbi’s rabbi, who maintains that a cat can’t be Jewish–but the cat knows better. Full of drama and adventuresome travel, the books and movie create many opportunities for the rabbi and his cat to grapple with important–and trivial–details of life. Rich with the colors, textures, and flavors of Algeria’s Jewish community, The Rabbi’s Cat brings a lost world vibrantly to life–a time and place where Jews and Arabs coexisted–and peoples it with endearing and thoroughly human characters, and one truly unforgettable cat.

You can join in the discussion of the movie led by CAA librarian Qat Oskow whether or not you have read one or both books, but reading the books (which do not take much time, due to all of the illustrations) will make for a more interesting discussion.

The CAA library has several copies of the book. If you are interested in the discussion, take a copy from the synagogue entry hall and leave your name on the sign-out sheet. If you do not find a copy of the first or second book when you want to read it, contact Qat Oskow at Please RSVP to Qat by Wednesday, December 11 if you plan on attending the movie and discussion night, so we can order enough pizza and salad. Let us know if you need a dairy-free option.
Date: Saturday, December 14, 2019
Time: 6:00pm EST
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 6:52pm GMT