Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde: A True Story

Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde: A True Story

4.5 7
by Rebecca Dana
     
 

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“For a generation of women who grew up watching Sex and the City, Manhattan is the Promised Land—or as Rebecca Dana puts it in her hilarious, self-deprecating new memoir, it’s ‘my Jerusalem—the shining city off in the distance, the only place to go’…[An] insightful tale of two fish out of water.”—O

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Overview

“For a generation of women who grew up watching Sex and the City, Manhattan is the Promised Land—or as Rebecca Dana puts it in her hilarious, self-deprecating new memoir, it’s ‘my Jerusalem—the shining city off in the distance, the only place to go’…[An] insightful tale of two fish out of water.”—O Magazine

Rebecca Dana worshipped at the altar of Truman Capote and Nora Ephron, dreaming of moving to New York. After college, life in the city turned out just as she’d planned: glamorous parties; beautiful people; the perfect job, apartment and man. But when it all comes crashing down, she is catapulted into another world.

She moves into Brooklyn’s Lubavitch community, and lives with Cosmo, a young Russian rabbi and jujitsu enthusiast. While Cosmo faces his disenchantment with Orthodoxy, Rebecca finds that her religion—the books and films that made New York seem like salvation—has also failed her. Shuttling between the worlds of religious extremism and secular excess, faith and fashion, Rebecca goes on a search for meaning.

A mix of Shalom Auslander and The Odd Couple, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde is a thought-provoking tale for the twenty-first century.

Includes a Readers Guide

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pittsburgh native Dana grew up dreaming of moving to New York City and living à la Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Not long after graduating from Yale, she moved to Manhattan to work at the New York Observer and immediately began making decisions based on what Carrie would do, like taking a cab she couldn’t afford (“the girl I wanted to be didn’t walk with her luggage”). She acquired the requisite designer clothes, lawyer boyfriend, and pad in the West Village—but when the boyfriend cheated on and cruelly dumped her, she moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to gain distance from her pain and doubt. She became roommates with Cosmo, a 30-year-old Lubavitch rabbi who was questioning his faith while learning jujitsu, which makes for plenty of entertaining odd-couple conversations and adventures as their friendship grows. Dana may have fallen prey to a cliché, but writes well: she turns a nine-month stint in Brooklyn into a thoughtful, archly funny meditation on what it means to want a certain kind of life, achieve it, and then feel patently uncomfortable in it, noting, “I have lived my entire life according to established story lines, even when they aren’t true.” Explorations of her own Judaism are nicely placed against the backdrop of the Lubavitcher community. Agents: Jason Anthony, Rachel Vogel, Sylvie Rabineau. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Coming-of-age memoir from Newsweek and Daily Beast senior correspondent Dana. The author, a leggy transplant from Pittsburgh, had snagged a great apartment and a great boyfriend in New York City. She had great hair, great clothes and a great job reporting for Daily Beast. Tina Brown, no less, was her mentor. Her way was lit by Joan Didion, Nora Ephron and, of course, Carrie Bradshaw. Brainy, hip and looking good, all was going according to plan until a spoiled romance ended in a classic breakup. And so our clever princess left the joint Manhattan apartment to share a place in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, land of the orthodox Jewish community of Lubavitch. There was Cosmo, her roommate, a bright rabbi, given to acting not at all like a Jewish, or even a jujitsu, rabbi. What was Rabbi Cosmo doing, after all, chewing on raw bacon or wrestling with a girl? No wonder Dana, deracinated in Brooklyn, became a tad confused. She loved cake and clothes and was in thrall to the gods of glamor. Her Good Book was Vogue. Her High Holy Days took place during Fashion Week; its rituals were celebrated. And yet, with the warm family life and the heartfelt spirit she encountered, there was undeniably something wonderful going on in Crown Heights. Readers will find Dana's depiction of Lubavitch life quite accessible, despite her frequent use of sparsely translated terms like shidduch, treyf, nudzhing or tznius. Finding nourishment, kosher-style, clever chick lit expands its usual boundaries.
From the Publisher
“[A] charming, frequently hilarious memoir.”—The New York Observer

“[Dana’s] take on being young and smart and emotionally adrift in the city is odd and charming enough to be that elusive thing: a true original.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Dana is able to write hilariously about her temporary ignominy and the vicissitudes of her job as a fashion journalist because through it all she maintains an acute sensitivity for the absurd...And there are larger issues, such as which kinds of lives are worth pursuing, packed in along with the ground-level concerns of getting along with a crazy roommate.”—The Daily Beast

“Rebecca Dana’s funny, juicy memoir of her Brooklyn year with a most original housemate goes down like a terrific New York cocktail—with some sweetness, a snappy twist of sublime and plenty of heart.”—Julie Metz, New York Times bestselling author of Perfection

“A fantastic read. Will make you want to take your life by the horns.”—Morgan Spurlock, filmmaker

“A laugh-out-loud tour of heartbreak, fashion and the search for community in unexpected places.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“[A] canny, buzz-inducing memoir…Funny, wily, audacious and captivating. Dana asserts her passion for glitz and high heels; vividly recounts her crazy adventures, profane and sacred; and saucily ponders life’s big questions.”—Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399158773
Publisher:
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Publication date:
01/24/2013
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 8.36(h) x 1.05(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Rebecca Dana is an author and journalist. She has been a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Daily Beast and The New York Observer. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.

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