Meet a Local Author: P. A. Moses
Help us welcome Bainbridge Island author and local Rabbi Paul Moses Strasko (writing under his pseudonym P. A. Moses) when he talks about his novel Women, Converts, and Azerbaijanis Need Not Apply. He will be at the bookstore on Thursday, March 23, at 7pm.
When Andrea Lewy, a Chinese girl adopted by a Jewish family, begins her Fulbright year in Germany, she expects to have a good time, improve her German, and write about contemporary Antisemitism. What she doesn’t expect is to become embroiled in a corrupt Russian mafia-like synagogue.
Women, Converts, and Azerbaijanis Need Not Apply is set in a fictionalized synagogue in modern day Germany. The narrative weaves together with poignant hilarity the xenophobia, Russian-mafia influences, death threats in community meetings, and fist fights in services that ridiculously but truthfully make up some of the every-day reality of Jewish communities in Germany today. Through Andrea’s humor-filled first person narrative, we are appalled by, confused about, and fall in love with these real people facing the challenges of reengaging in Judaism after three generations of Stalinism.
P.A. Moses is the pseudonym for local Rabbi Paul Moses Strasko. Strasko was born in Montana in 1972. He began playing jazz professionally at age 14, which eventually led to studying classical performance and composition from the University of Montana, and then composition and theory at Temple University for graduate school. As can sometimes be the case with music degrees, this education led him to 12 years working as a project manager, analyst, quality control officer and marketing consultant in health care, pharma, staffing, and clinical research.
In 2002 he moved to Seattle, met his wife Sandra, and became very active at Temple Beth Am where he leyned and became a regular lay leader. This led him to rabbinical studies at Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Berlin and Potsdam, Germany, including a year of academic study at the Steinsaltz Institute in Jerusalem and a year at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, where he was honored with the Michael Klein prize for academic excellence. As a student rabbi he served in Göttingen, Hannover, and Düsseldorf, Germany, and since his ordination in 2011 has served in the WUPJ Communauté Israélite Libérale de Genève and the Jewish Community of Duisburg, Mülheim and der Ruhr and Oberhausen in North Rhein Westphalia. He remains an active musician playing clarinet and piano, has two hairless sphinx cats, and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Potsdam, his Ph.D. thesis entitled: "The Evolution and Transformation of a Law: Speaking with the Dead in Torah through the 20th Century."
He has served as Rabbi at Congregation Kol Shalom located on Bainbridge Island since July, 2014. This is his first novel.