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Advance Praise


Moses the Heretic by Daniel Spiro

“This is a deeply philosophical and perfectly paced gripping novel. Like all great works of art, and indeed like its main character, Rabbi Moses Levine, it will mean different things to different people… For me, as a Muslim, this novel struck a powerful and compelling chord. The parallels between the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, and the Muslim ta’aruf and islah were eyeopening. Rabbi Levine’s pursuit of hikma (wisdom), empathy, humility and beauty in all aspects of life embody the very principles that are supposed to guide the life of faithful Muslims. Whether one ultimately agrees with Rabbi Levine’s choices and actions or not, if there is any wisdom in this world, the Rabbi will become famous with millions of readers from every faith all around the world.”
—Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, UCLA School of Law, and author of
The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists

“Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav sang, ‘The whole world is a narrow bridge but the main thing is not to be afraid.’ Daniel Spiro’s novel is a bridge of courage and hope in a frightened and dispirited world. It is a novel of heart, mind and spine.”
—Rabbi Harold Schulweis, author of
For Those Who Can’t Believe and founder of Jewish World Watch

“Adventurous and daring, Daniel Spiro’s novel challenges our understanding of the Middle East and gets to the core of the region’s tragedy as nonfiction so rarely does. His modern Moses is comic and heartbreaking, much like the real peace process on which this insightful novel provides such sorrowful commentary.”
—Matt Beynon Rees, author of
A Grave in Gaza and The Collaborator of Bethlehem

“An extraordinary treatment of a Biblical hero imagined into contemporary times saying those things that need to be said even when they confuse, irritate or enrage the listeners. Readers will alternately respect Moses Levine, wish he would curb his excesses, wonder why he won't say exactly what they want him to, curse him for being too human and then respect him again for opening a way to tolerance, understanding, and peaceful coexistence. Speaks truth to confront the religious struggles and divides of our time.”
—Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service

“Like the Biblical Moses who led his people into the Promised Land, Daniel Spiro’s Moses offers us a vision of a Promised Land. … This land offers the world the “milk and honey” of respect, acceptance and peace. There will always be those who say that this is a dangerous journey … that we are better off where we are, bound by history and ignorance. I hope and pray that this astonishing and deeply honest book will be the trumpet call to all who are caught up in the tragedy of the war between the children of Abraham, leading us, as sisters and brothers, to take the first bold steps that will lead this region to true peace.”
—Reverend Christine Brownlie, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Blacksburg, Virginia

“In Moses the Heretic, Daniel Spiro spins a story which draws us in while taking up the complexities of a world we often want to turn away from. By entering the heart both of the middle east conflict and of the Jewish community, Spiro humanizes those who are too often demonized and creates compelling arguments and understanding for a more hopeful future. He does what most clergy hope for — to write the sermons he believes need to be heard and to have the ideas within them repair the world.”
—Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Senior Associate Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University

“A smart, audacious and entertaining book that re-imagines the biblical Moses in the modern world — deeply rooted in scripture, full of compassion and insight, and yet hard-wired to today’s headlines.”
—Jonathan Kirsch, author of
Moses, A Life and The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual

“Daniel Spiro has written a masterful novel that weaves powerful spiritual teachings of Judaism and Islam into a gripping and charged story of contemporary politics, passion and intrigue… Rabbi Moses Levine is an unabashed God-Wrestler, whose soaring rhetoric and political passion plows through the landscape of contemporary American Jewish life like a spiritual tornado, upending conventional wisdom and complacency in his wake. The national conversation Rabbi Levine has started on how we learn to understand and coexist with “the other” is long overdue.”
—Steve Masters, President, Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

“As lucid as it is thought-provoking, and as poignant as it is provocative, Moses the Heretic is a brilliant novel of ideas. This book entertains and enlightens from start to finish, and yet ultimately, it has but one message: that each of us must pursue peace with a passion. I can think of no better summary of Jewish philosophy than that.”
—Douglas Stone, co-author of
Difficult Conversations and former Assoc. Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project

“In the tradition of imaginative midrash [interpretation of Jewish texts], Daniel Spiro dares to tackle the big questions in his fascinating work.”
—Rabbi David Greenstein, Rabbinic Dean, Academy for Jewish Religion

“I love this book! It brings together in a constructed reality all the tension between the practical existence of the Abrahamic family and the prophetic ideals according to which we are supposed to be living. It is a great story and thus fictionalizes and brings much closer to home the moral and political choices that we all have to face.”
—Rabbi Marc Gopin, Director of George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, and author of
Between Eden and Armageddon