Friday, August 9, 2013

Squelched by T.V. LoCicero

This slim volume is really a continuation of and an explanation of the fate of the excellent study Murder in the Synagogue also by T. V. LoCicero.  Anyone who has read Murder in the Synagogue would have expected a wide audience and best seller status because of its topic, caliber of writing and reporting.  Surprisingly, the book was stalled and then halted after the author received promising reviews and expectations from the publisher.  He subsequently heard from a congregant of that fateful synagogue that a prominent member of the synagogue community proudly announced to a group of friends that he "squelched" the book.  Mr. LoCicero details the mishaps and misstatements of his publisher fudging its way through an unsatisfying explanation of the book's failure.

The book's picture of people of influence and power rings true; it reminds me of my life as a community rabbi when my job was threatened for speaking the truth.  "Rabbi, if you continue to explain your view, there are people in this town who can ruin you!  I would watch out if I were you!!" Or alternatively, it reminds me of the help I received: "Rabbi, there seems to be some misplaced anger directed toward you- we'll just send a letter ..." and the anger dissipated and disappeared miraculously! In the first case as a fiery young rabbi I responded with "How dare you threaten a rabbi! I will serve the entire community and not just a few of the elite!"  And in the second case, I marveled at the power this man's pen!

Every community has its 'melech', king.  The role of the king is to fight and defend and unfortunately for Mr. LoCicero the king misunderstood his very well thought out book that analyzed a dangerous crank as a threat to the community and supposedly snuffed out the "threat" as a king is expected to do.

If the book is true, and there is little evidence to deny this fine written memoir, I believe here the king and his council were wrong!  The rabbi's widow even praised the book.  The synagogue could have grown in many ways as a result of a best seller depending on the leadership of the synagogue.

Since Mr. LoCicero has brought Murder in the Synagogue back into print, I believe it to be a very worthwhile read and recommend his writing.


  1. Rabbi, I'm very grateful to you for another thoughtful, insightful response. You deal with the book so honestly and adroitly and from an angle no one else has supplied. And thanks as well for your very kind words about Murder in the Synagogue. I'll always value your contribution to the discussion.

  2. I look forward to your continued success as an author and publisher!