Interview with Ruchama King Feuerman, author of In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist
The book at Amazon and on Kindle
Miriam Bradman Abrahams: To which characters do you relate in your stories?
Ruchama King Feuerman: There are pieces of me in all the characters. Isaac reminds me of my father, while Mustafa also reminds me of him, since they each had a deformity. [Feuerman’s father lost an ear in a childhood accident.] I share ideological frustrations with my character Beth from Seven Blessings, though there are many differences between us.
Rad full interview at Jewish Book Council
Review of In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist
Isaac Markowitz is a forty-three-year-old haberdasher from the Lower East Side who feels unfulfilled and moves to Jerusalem. Isaac had almost married, almost become a rabbi, and almost formed a school of his own. He winds up as the assistant to an elderly rabbi and his wife, who do kindnesses for the array of unfortunate people who loiter in their courtyard seeking help. Isaac befriends Mustafa, a crippled custodian who is an outcast to his family, and Tamar, a young American woman who feels like an outsider after making aliyah and becoming observant. Mustafa works cleaning the Temple Mount and picks up ancient shards hidden within the rubbish. Red-headed Tamar rides a Vespa through Jerusalem and wants to find the perfect mate. Mustafa is drawn to the courtyard of the rabbi with questions about the kohanim – Jewish priests. These characters have brushes with criminals and the police and fear the Waqf as they get involved with antiquities. With gentle nudging from the rabbi and rebbetzin, and through his work helping others, Isaac slowly comes into his own, realizing his self worth and finding meaning in his life. This book has a slow enjoyable rhythm reminiscent of a traditional folktale. The characters are likable eccentrics and the author describes Jerusalem beautifully. Although this reader anticipated a happy ending, a few twists kept the plot interesting and didn’t disappoint.