Xavier Radek of Basel, Switzerland, is the son of lapsed Jews, with a grandfather on his mom's side said to have been in the SS. As a teenager, Xavier vows to become the "comforter of the Jews"-a tall order because they already had Israel, "Einstein and Billy Wilder." He befriends and becomes the lifelong lover of Awromele Michalowitz, son of a pseudorabbi. Xavier endures a horribly botched circumcision as part of his conversion. Then he and Awromele set out to translate Mein Kampfinto Yiddish and embark on a series of mishaps and adventures that take them to Amsterdam and, eventually, Israel. There Xavier enters politics and rises to become ha-Radek, Israel's leader, while Awromele sticks with Xavier but has constant affairs on the side because his mother taught him Jews should not say no (go figure). Often funny, often touching, often unbelievable, this phantasmagoria, idiomatically translated by Garrett, is for all readers who enjoy an offbeat, slightly madcap tale.