The Rabbi’s Cat
by Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux
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The setting is Algiers in the 1920s. Rabbi Sfar lives with his daughter Zlabya, a noisy parrot and a mischievous cat who devours the parrot and starts talking, but only tells lies. The rabbi wants to keep it at bay. But the cat, who is madly in love with Zlabya, will do anything to stay by her side...even take his Bar Mitzvah! The rabbi has to teach his cat the rudiments of the Law of Moses! In a letter, the rabbi finds out that in order to keep his job, he must do a dictation exercise in French. To help him, his cat commits the sacrilege of invoking the Lord. The rabbi succeeds but the cat can no longer speak. He is treated once more like an ordinary animal. His only friend will soon be a Russian painter in search of an imaginary Jerusalem where black Jews apparently live. He manages to convince the rabbi, a former Tzar soldier, a singer and the cat to travel the colonial road with him...