Author hopes to dispel Jewish myths

Barry Varkel's latest work.

If you want to learn a thing or two about Judaism, then Sea Point resident, comedian and lawyer, Barry Varkel, is here to help you.

Mr Varkel launched his latest fiction novel titled Goy Vey – A Gentile’s Guide to Judaism, at Wordsworth in Sea Point on Thursday June 27.

Mr Varkel said Goy Vey comes from Oy Vey – a Jewish expression used to express surprise or shock – and Goy is the word for non-Jewish people.

He said there were many negative non-fiction books in South Africa.

“No one reads fiction books anymore and the expression that says ‘a person who doesn’t read fiction only lives one life’ is quite true,” he said.

He said with this book, he tells a relatable South African story.

“It’s actually a Cape Town story and when you read it you will recognise a lot of places in Cape Town as there’s a lot of local content in it,” he said.

The book is about two families, one Jewish and one not.

“All their lives, experiences, children are different and the story builds up with two separate directions of each family until they connect on a Shabbat dinner that goes horribly wrong,” said Mr Varkel.

He said there are a lot of myths about Jewish people and he hopes to dispel them and encourage integration in South Africa where everyone can read the story and enjoy it.

“That’s where we’re going wrong in South Africa. There’s this division and isolation and we never really embrace each other, we’re afraid and there’s nothing to be afraid of,” he said.

Mr Varkel said there’s no agenda in the book or political speech as it’s all pure entertainment that can be enjoyed by all South Africans.

“There’s references from Paarden Eiland, restaurants at the V&A Waterfront, Fresnaye, Sea Point to non-Jewish people in Constantia that people will recognise straight away,” he said.