The Bio of
 Dr. Rabbi Ari Ben Lieb Tov
Dr. Rabbi Ari Ben Lieb Tov was born in Brooklyn. He received his rabbinic ordination and doctorate of Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he chaired the department of Talmudic Forensics, before returning to his native Brooklyn. Dr. Rabbi Tov is a fellow of the Society of Fellows of Harvard University, and taught at New York University, Yale University, Cornell University, Stanford University, The University of Paris, The London School of Economics, The University of Copenhagen and Stanford University. He is currently Professor of Old Testament at the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. He is the author of numerous books including The Mishnaic Epidermis (The Jewish Publication Society, 1968), which was nominated for a Nobel Prize, Acid Reflux, or the Sociopathology of a Butcher’s Son (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004), which was awarded the coveted Israeli Prize for Literature, and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Hasid (New York University Press, 2005), a gastronomic long poem, parts of which were published in The Jerusalem Quarterly.  

The Brooklyn Son of the Pastrami Sandwich

Delivered out of the raw condiments of salted brine,
I am the Brooklyn Son of the Pastrami Sandwich—smell
of garlic, coriander, black pepper, paprika, cloves,
allspice, mustard seed: apron of the shibboleth
and stench of the butcher’s knife I should have used
on myself. To slice and be sliced, these flaps
groan like cannibals, brown mustard smeared
on Christian kids—my father’s neighborhood
secret, first lured by caramelized apples then
trapped, stripped, suffocated, drained of blood,
urine, semen, skinned and smoked. During
Pesach, the number of dead Christian children
rose to over two hundred and seventy five. My
father gave a fifty percent discount to parents,
throwing in a ounce of slaw, dill pickle and first
dibs on their children’s skin. Me? I prefer a French
roll. I stalk the streets like a rabid wolf hunting
young meat. I attack from behind, kill quickly,
recite the Kaddish (at times in two part harmony),
and wrap the delight in a tallit. The body dies
black-purple, strangled by teffilin. In my kitchen,
I sever the head from the neck, sever the feet
at the ankles, hands at the wrists and begin
to slice skin from the thighs and back. My
butcher’s knife is my father’s butcher’s knife,
blessed by the great Satmar Rebbe. Baruch
Hashem, my children are gone. They were
tasty. No one tastes like them. I suffer.


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