In Frankfurt's Jewish community, murder, kidnapping and betrayal will soon take place. Don't worry: everything is just fiction, invented by the screenwriter and writer Michel Bergmann, who has now written his first crime thriller - with Rabbi Henry Silberbaum as a detective. Bergmann does not want to leave it with the one novel, of course. He has agreed on a whole series of rabbi thrillers with Heyne Verlag, all of which are supposed to be set in Frankfurt in a Jewish setting. The author, who sits down at his desk in his dacha near Berlin early in the morning, has already written exposés for eight episodes.

Because Bergmann grew up in Frankfurt, he chose the city and its Jewish places as the setting: the Budge-Heim in Seckbach, called Jüdisches Altenstift in the book, the community center in the Westend, where the rabbi has an office, the new Jewish cemetery at the Eckenheimer Landstrasse, where he wanders around at night and is promptly arrested by Chief Inspector Berking.

Just died of heart failure?

“You shall not kill.” This is what the fifth commandment demands. But is it not allowed to kill a lamb or a rabbit? Can animal rights activists rely on the fifth commandment? The clever Rabbi Henry Silberbaum enlightened us and his students in the Jewish school. The Torah speaks of “ratsah” - but that does not mean to kill, but to murder. Murder people. As a result, Bergmann gave his first rabbi crime thriller the subtitle “You shall not murder”. Because here no rabbits are killed, but the rich Mrs. Axelrath. Or did the old lady just die of heart failure?

At least that's what the ambulance believes. The rabbi, on the other hand, suspects a well-camouflaged murder. In order to prove his theory, Silberbaum turns into a leisure detective who pursues clues, gathers clues and searches for evidence. He finds official help from Chief Inspector Robert Berking, a suspicious man from Northern Hesse who regulates official matters for the rabbi, which is why the title of the crime thriller is "The Rabbi and the Inspector".

A rabbi as an investigator - this is not a Bergmann invention.

The genre was invented by the American literature professor Harry Kemelman in the 1960s with “The Rabbi slept long on Friday”, which was followed by a whole week series.

Bergmann, screenwriter who has already successfully entered the field of fiction, sees himself in this tradition.

His gorgeous comic trilogy "Die Teilacher", "Machloikes" and "Herr Klee und Herr Feld", begun in 2010, are among the best that has appeared in recent German-Jewish literature.

Unfortunately, Bergmann is sold a little below value in the literature business - but that could change now.

A great joke teller in keeping with the Jewish tradition

Why Bergmann wrote a crime thriller? Because there isn't much going on in the film business for him, the white, old man, he explains with the self-deprecating joke that distinguishes this author. His rabbi detective also has the ability to poke fun at himself. Silberbaum is also a great joke-teller, entirely in keeping with the Jewish tradition. The guards at the entrance to the Jewish Community Center don't want to let him in until he's told them something. For example: "Someone calls out: 'Jankel, what are you running so fast?' He says: 'I have to see a doctor right away, I don't like my wife at all.' 'I'll come with you,' says the other, 'I don't like mine either.' "

There is a corpse in Bergmann's crime thriller.

But no wild shootings, no dramatic car chases, no hideous brutality.

One could speak of a smirking thriller that is not only about a crime, but also about the Jewish way of life with all its bizarre features, such as the tyranny of mothers who do not want to let their sons and daughters off the leash.

In general, the reader learns a lot about Jewish life and Talmudic thinking.

In a glossary at the end of the book he finds many Jewish terms and words that appear in the novel that are not common knowledge.

Silberbaum is the ideal rabbi for Bergmann

Rabbi Silberbaum becomes a detective against his will because he wants to ensure justice for the dead Mrs. Axelrath and for her daughter who has lost her inheritance. Like his literary role model, Rabbi Small from Kemelman's crime series, he is driven by his interest in the truth, which he, the Talmudically trained clergyman, seeks to reveal through logical thinking. For Bergmann, Silberbaum is the ideal rabbi, a man he would like to be himself. The novel also features a community director Avram Friedländer, a somewhat limited bureaucrat.

Silberbaum, on the other hand, belongs to the liberal direction of Judaism, although the local community and its two employed rabbis are Orthodox.

But one can certainly recognize traits of Julien Chaim Soussan, the clever Orthodox community rabbi who grew up in Freiburg and studied economics and Jewish studies before training as a rabbi.

Bergmann met with him when he was roaming Jewish Frankfurt while researching his crime thriller.

Reading on October 18 at 7 p.m. in the Jewish Museum Frankfurt, registration at the email address besuch.jmf@stadt-frankfurt.de.

Keywords: jewish, crime thriller, henry silberbaum, westend, all, everything, rabbi, heyne verlag, novel, detective, axelrath, life, michael bergmann, jewish museum frankfurt, murder