Shais Rishon (aka MaNishtana) is a New York-based African-American Orthodox Jew born from two African-American Orthodox Jewish parents. He grew up Chabad-Lubavitch and hails on his mother’s side from a legacy of African-American Judaism stretching back to the 1780s. He is an author, writer, educator, playwright, rabbi, and public speaker, whose work on racial and religious identity & culture takes prejudice, bias, and ignorance head on, asking the questions about humanity, race, religion, and social injustice that we all have (and maybe are afraid to talk about), with gut-punching insight and gut-busting sarcasm.
Thought leader and provocateur MaNishtana (Shais Rishon) turns his eye to fiction in this imaginative, semi-autobiographical novel, making Ariel Samson, Freelance Rabbi the most dazzling debut of an Orthodox black Jew born on a Sunday at 2:24AM in a Brooklyn hospital in 1982 that you will ever have the privilege of reading. 2018 Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award's Goldberg Award for Debut Fiction.
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