Alan Weitzman

Alan G. Weitzman

Teacher at Alvernia University

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400 Saint Bernardine St, Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
HQ Phone:
(610) 796-8200

General Information


Director  - Seniors College at Alvernia College

Executive Vice President  - Central Conference of American Rabbis

Spiritual Leader  - Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom


Rabbi Emeritus  - Oheb Sholom

Recent News  

Criticizing Dan Brown's religion-based best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code" has become a growth industry, so retired Rabbi Alan G. Weitzman took a different tack Tuesday in leading a discussion with a small group of bibliophiles at the new Spring Township Library.Weitzman, who teaches senior citizens at Alvernia College, shared his thoughts about Brown's predecessor novel, "Angels and Demons," which has become much more popular in the wake of "DaVinci."Weitzman pointed out that "Angels" and "DaVinci" have a lot in common besides the hero, Harvard professor Robert Langdon.Weitzman offered some insights into Brown's character.He's the son of a math teacher and a musician, which may have inspired his interest in both codes and the arts.His English class was once interrupted by the FBI's looking into Internet threats made by students.The rabbi talked about Brown's arising at 4 a.m. to work (a reason I'll never be a Dan Brown; there may be others), and his using an hourglass to schedule his breaks.He could have mentioned that Brown likes to hang upside down wearing gravity boots.Weitzman concludes that Brown, although he identifies himself as a Christian, is "not a happy camper within any branch of religion, especially authoritative religion."Weitzman sees in "Angels," which centers on an antimatter discovery and terrorism at a papal election, an attempt to "explain science in such a way that it embraces religion."He noted, for example, that the pope becomes a champion of artificial insemination.And the man whose murder starts the story is both a priest and a world-class physicist.This may be partly why Publisher's Weekly said the "premise strains credulity."Brown's villain is presumably reacting to having almost died because his parents were into faith-healing. (Several in the audience challenged Weitzman's opinion that he might have been Catholic.)Weitzman highlighted the motive of revenge, the staple of many a classic, and the apparent disdain for the media, which "will do anything for a story."He said that in his own experience in disaster response, "the media is not very sensitive."He was most critical of the drawn-out finish to "Angels," saying "people don't know where to end."Weitzman sees a positive in Brown's work in that he raises a lot of questions, providing an opportunity for readers to articulate those questions."Faith is not destroyed but strengthened by questions," Weitzman asserted.

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