Ezra Cappell

MAILER: Author influenced by the Talmud

Norman Mailer: A Man of Letters Inspired by the People of the Book

The Norman Mailer who died in New York last Saturday at the age of 84, and whom I met in November 2006, was not the brash showman — arm-wrestling with Muhammad Ali, boxing with Jose Torres, hobnobbing with Jackie Onassis at a New York society dinner. This Mailer looked more like my beloved rabbinic grandfather: nearly blind, practically deaf and maneuvering around painfully with the use of two steel canes. Yet at this late date, as Mailer’s famous deep-blue eyes sparkled, his spirit of Jewish mischief, which animated both his life and work, remained undimmed.