On Shabbos evenings Karen often catches me up on important stories that I’m just too lazy to read by myself.
Last Friday night I was totally caught up in Jetta Carleton’s brilliant one and only novel, The Moonflower Vine, one of the finest novels I have ever read, when Karen drew my attention to a truly momentous story in The Jewish Press.
“Jewish Descendants of King David to Meet in Jerusalem. Geneologists say that there are about 100 Jewish family names whose bearers are likely to be Jewish descendants of King David.
“Well over 1,000 Jews of royal descent, will participate in a reunion in Jerusalem next spring, May 28-30, 2007. This will also mark the official inauguration of the worlwide Davidic Dynasty Geneology Center and Museum in the Old City of Jerusalem.”
For more information and if you want to put a “von” before your Jewish name, click here.
I have to admit, I am less than overwhelmed by this whacky story. I want to get back to my novel about three unmarried sisters in Southern Missouri during the 1920’s. It’s a bit like Pride and Prejudice–but in the American grain. This is a great American novel and I am completely transported to another time, another place, an utterly different mentality.
Then Karen starts reading the family names that are connected to the Davidic dynasty: The list seems to include every Jewish name in existence–except, naturally, mine: Adler. Fishel. Meisels. Posner. Singer. Twersky…
“I am royalty, I am royalty.” Karen giggles.
“Listen, do I call you M’Lady from now on or what?”
“Don’t feel bad, Robert, you’ve obviously got seniority, your name is much older. Avrech, you are probably descended from Joseph.”
Right. There you go. As Joseph was carried through Egypt, the Bible tells (Genesis, Mikeitz 41, 43) us: He [Pharaoh] also had him [Yosef] ride in his second royal chariot and they proclaimed before him: Avrech! Thus, he appointed him over all the land of Egypt.
Rashi, the great medieval commentator tells us that Avrech is a composite of two words: Av, father, to rach, which means tender in years. Thus, a father in wisdom but tender in years.
I continue reading “The Moonflower Vine.” Jetta Carleton’s prose is so precise, so dense that I can practically read the minds of the three sisters. Like Harper Lee, Carleton wrote only one book that is a masterpiece, but I’m afraid that no one has ever heard of “The Moonflower Vine.”
Abruptly, Karen slaps her hand against the couch.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, startled.
“Hey,” Karen says cracking up, “I’m a JAP*.”
Princess Karen and I wish all our Seraphic Friends a lovely and meaningful Shabbos and a G’mar Tov.
*Jewish American Princess