Sunday, September 21, 2008


Last night, throughout the world, religious Jews celebrated the service called “Selichot” – meaning “forgiveness.” It marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, which culminate in our holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur. During these next 2 1/2 weeks, Jews are tasked with repenting for our “sins against man and God.” We’re also directed to seek forgiveness for those sins, as well as to forgive others who may have sinned against us or our loved ones. For those who take the religion seriously, it’s a difficult period, but an immensely rewarding one.

When I drafted my second novel, Moses the Heretic, I had no idea if it would be published, let alone that its release would coincide with the commencement of the Days of Awe. And yet, it is with pleasure … and no modicum of relief … that I am now able to announce Heretic’s publication and its availability through such outlets as Barnes and Noble (stores or online) and Candidly, I’m not sure my book is worthy of its release date. Then again, I do think that some of the things that are discussed in the book need to be read – and believe me, not just by Jews.

If you go to the Moses the Heretic page on my website (, you can read all about this book. But first, you’ll note that on its cover is a bridge. It is my hope that Heretic serves in that capacity on two levels. Abstractly, the bridge is intended to transport the reader from the land known as Conventional Jewish Wisdom into a more spiritual realm, one that is consistent with the highest ideals of our prophets, including our greatest prophet of all, Moshe Rabbenu (i.e., Moses). More concretely, the bridge is intended to connect the Jewish and Christian world, on the one hand, with the Muslim world, on the other. Such a connection is long overdue, not merely because it is necessary to stop the violence among our peoples but because it is equally necessary to fight ignorance. Watching the way Islam is portrayed by the American media sickens me almost as much as if I were watching the way my own religion used to be portrayed by the Nazis … or the way it still is portrayed in many Arab nations.

You see, none of our societies has a monopoly on ignorance and bigotry, and much of our idiocy can surely be traced to our religions. Nevertheless, it is precisely those same religions – when they are approached with a loving, ecumenical spirit – that point the way to a solution.

As you will see on my website, Moses the Heretic has received endorsements from a number of our nation’s most respected religious leaders and authors, including representatives of the Muslim and Unitarian Universalist communities, as well as several rabbis. Like The Creed Room, Heretic is a work of fiction – indeed, it has considerably more action than The Creed Room and is probably a more advanced work of literature. But I’m not going to lie to you: this is not a book for those who are looking for lyrical prose. It is a novel of ideas, one that I hope will touch the heart every bit as much as the mind, but still an expression of philosophy first and foremost. As such, I have aimed to provoke my readers’ thoughts every bit as much as to entertain them.

That is perhaps all that I dare say at this time. Self promotion is unpleasant at any time of year, but to engage in it now – a time that should be spent repenting – seems especially unseemly. Trust me, I have more pressing things to atone for between now and October 9th than for over-hyping my novel. Suffice to say that if you enjoy this blog, and you have even a modicum of interest in religion (any religion), I feel comfortable in urging you to buy the book and joining me in the trek across the river … or is it an ocean? We’ll be setting sail for a place where religion can finally become a vehicle for unity and not divisiveness. We may not get there, but at least we will have tried.


Betty C. said...

I really need to order them BOTH!

Congratulations on the publication of your second title. I don't know how you do it, although some of it probably has to do with limiting yourself to one blog post a week!

Daniel Spiro said...

You nailed it, Betty. When I started the blog, I was pretty much doing it every other day. I'm not sure I could do that and stay sane, given my other demands.