Many of you will be aware of the book, “Gangsterland” by Tod Goldberg which was recently published. I was reading a description of it a month ago: “Rabbi Cohen works at a Temple on Hillpointe Road and often meets congregants at Bagel Café”. That’s weird, I thought, sounds a bit like me! As I read on I discovered the Rabbi Cohen in the book is actually masquerading as a Rabbi and is really a mob hit man in hiding. Basically, it’s your average tale of religion, murder and bagels.
When Stephanie Helms, our chair of marketing, reached out to Mr. Goldberg, he responded in a pleasant manner and seemed open to coming to Las Vegas to explain how he got the idea for the book and how the mob and Hillpointe Road seemed to be a match made in heaven. Some of our congregants have been very sweet and taken offence at dragging my good name and that of Judaism through the dirt. I, on the other hand, take it all in good humor, simply amused and curious at the thinking behind the book.
In the novel, Mr. Goldberg makes some interesting observations about life in Summerlin, the Jewish community and about the work that Rabbis do. Sometimes, it takes an independent set of eyes to help view your own situation in a new, however strange, light.
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen