Q & A with author of Cain V. Abel: A Jewish Courtroom Drama, Dan Ornstein

1.       Why did you write this book?

I wrote this book because I firmly believe that the Cain and Abel story has indispensable moral messages for our violence and hatred plagued planet.  It is a foundational story of the human experience, and I wanted to convey its power to a modern audience.   

 2.       How is the Biblical story of Cain & Abel story relevant in 2021?

As I write in the book, we humans with our big brains have never been able to do more damage to each other and to the planet than we can do currently.  For all our technological sophistication, morally we still too often miss the mark when it comes to being our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.  Rather than lecture us about the imperative to do good, the story of Cain and Abel draws us into its moral message with an intriguing narrative that inspires us to ask each other new questions and seek new answers about being decent human beings.

3.       Why should a modern reader read this book?

My book uses the dynamic framework of modern courtroom drama and crime stories to look at the world’s first great crime against humanity.  I take a wide variety of explanations and comments from Jewish tradition on the story to make the story – and our application of it – come to life in entirely new ways. 

4.       What will a modern reader gain from the book?

At the very least, a modern reader will find an entertaining and invigorating new way to study and argue about one of the world’s oldest and most famous stories.  At the very most, a modern reader will read my book and be able to act more justly and courageously upon that greatest of lessons found in this story:  we must act as each other’s’ keepers.  

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