(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

In a taxicab in Manhattan as Charles, a middle-aged, nominally Christian financial analyst, discovers that he has been transformed into an Orthodox Jew during the ride. Charles is so shocked that he tells the cabdriver. His next step is to tell Sue, his wife, but he is nervous about telling her and needs help to approach her about his newfound religion. Charles is depicted as being level-headed and Sue as an ideal wife who has a top-notch job. They have no children.

Charles plans to seek guidance from his psychologist, Dr. Birnbaum, regarding his newly discovered Jewish soul, but he also seeks help from religious individuals. By hunting through the huge Manhattan yellow pages, where he knows he can find anything, Charles locates the Royal Hills Mystical Jewish Reclamation Center (R-HMJRC), a type of clearinghouse for the Judeo-supernatural that deals in messianic issues, dream interpretation, numerology, retreats, and recovered memory.

After traveling to the R-HMJRC, housed in a beautifully renovated Gothic brownstone, he ascends the stairs to the cluttered, dusty attic where Rabbi Zalman Meintz, spiritual leader of the R-HMJRC, has his office. Like Charles’s home, much of the furniture is covered in chintz, but unlike the chintz-covered furniture in Charles’s newly decorated foyer, living room, and dining room, the rabbi’s office couches are old and worn. The rabbi is described as being around thirty years old, wearing a black suit and black hat, and...

(The entire section is 607 words.)