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Modern Jewish Girls Guide To Guilt [Hardcover]

Ruth Ellenson

Price: CDN$ 35.00 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Aug. 23 2005
Twenty-eight of today's top Jewish women writers tell the truth about all the things their rabbis warned them never to discuss in public.

Do you feel guilty when too many good things happen to you?

Have you ever used Caller ID to dodge your mother's phone calls?

Are you sometimes tempted to give up on the idea of atonement and go get a pedicure on Yom Kippur?

The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt explodes with truth, humor, and insight into what it means to be a Jewish woman at the dawn of the 21st century. The women in this anthology bravely invite you along as they struggle to strike a balance between their heritage and their modern lives. Whether it's the pressure of hearing a grandmother's biological clock start to tick, the horror of being outted as a lesbian at your mother's Yiddish club, or the burden of being the only kid in Hebrew school who actually cares, their predicaments will make you laugh, cry, and howl in recognition.

One writer screws up the courage to tell her parents she's marrying a nice German boy, while another finds she can't live up to the Zionist ideals of her father. An Orthodox woman describes the constant pressure she feels to be perfect, and a rabbi tells us what it's like to be on the receiving end of other people's guilty confessions. Some give up the guilt altogether-like the author who refuses to go on a diet, pointing out that Golda Meir would never have been caught drinking Slim-Fast in the Knesset, or the writer who decides to RSVP no to every wedding, bat mitzvah, or family meal she doesn't actually want to attend.

So what happens when Jewish women join together to speak out? You blast away hackneyed stereotypes of nagging mothers and spoiled princesses and you get The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt-a hilarious, surprising moving and thoughtful book that captures all that is complicated and wonderful about being a Jewish woman today.

Includes pieces by:
Elisa Albert, Aimee Bender, Jennifer Bleyer, Kera Bolonik, Rabbi Sharon Brous, Baz Dreisinger, Pearl Gluck, Rebecca Goldstein, Lori Gottlieb, Lauren Grodstein, Dara Horn, Molly Jong-Fast, Rachel Kadish, Jenna Kalinsky, Cynthia Kaplan, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Amy Klein, Daphne Merkin, Tova Mirvis, Gina Nahai, Katie Rophie, Francesca Segré, Wendy Shanker, Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Susan Shapiro, Ayelet Waldman, Rebecca Walker, Sheryl Zohn


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (Aug. 23 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525948848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525948841
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.2 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,511,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Rabbi's daughter Ellenson's wide-ranging and thought-provoking collection touches on familiar-mothers, marriage and bacon-as well as less obvious, but equally potent, sources of guilt. In one of the strongest essays, Susan Shapiro explains how she's done what most women only fantasize about: declined social engagements and cut back on granting favors so she can do what she wants. It's selfish, she admits, but she's happier. Binnie Kirshenbaum manages to retain a sense of humor despite being greeted with "When are you going to grow up and have a family?" whenever talk turns to her childlessness. Humor is a staple for many of Ellenson's writers, among them Lori Gottlieb, whose "loving but lethal" mother seems to have been pulled from central casting. But Gottlieb captures the right tone, and the result is fresh and funny. As is Sharon Brous' recollection of being reprimanded by a religious Jew for placing an unopened bottle of salad dressing on a kitchen counter. "I was mortified and guilt-ridden-as much by my stupid mistake as by the fact that I didn't understand half the words she was shouting at me." Her solution: she is now a rabbi. That won't work for everyone, but given the variety of approaches offered here, most readers will find something to help assuage their guilty consciences.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Strong and moving stories about what it means... to be a Jewish woman in today’s world.—Los Angeles Times

Lively and intelligent.—Seattle Times
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a jewish girl, I really relate Oct. 23 2005
By Rebecca N - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The essays in this book were consistently excellent, with few exceptions. I was raised in an ultra-orthodox household, rebelled to modern orthodoxy in my teen years, and am generally non-practicing as an adult -- with the exception of making a kickin' matzoh ball soup when the urge hits me. In reading these essays, I laughed frequently, and felt that the writers (who span the complete spectrum) really expressed the jewish culture, while, at the same time, had unique stories to tell. I couldn't believe how well I related to so many of these women. If you are a jewish women of any bent, I think you will as well. Some essays assume specific knowledge of judaism without explanation (i.e. using the word "shadchan" instead of "matchmaker") but even those without this knowledge could probably pick up what they don't know because of context. I think some of my catholic friends would also enjoy this "guilt" book.

As a little bit of additional heresy, I kept this book as bathtub reading, since each essay was about as long as a short story. Full of laughs! I highly recommend.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful anthology Nov. 2 2005
By Scott H. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Though I am a man, I know from guilt, and Ellenson and her authors nail the topic. This isn't what you expect; it's not a typical treatment of a broad topic, with the typical cliches. Instead, it's a sensitive, creative treatment of an intriguing and complicated human phenomenon. One does not need to be either Jewish or a girl to fully enjoy this book.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars laughed while sobbing Nov. 4 2005
By Jewessy J. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Molly Jong Fast, daughter of Erica Jong who wrote Fear of Flying, wrote one of the funniest esays I've ever read in my life for this book. She writes about how all of her therapists become obsessed with her mother writing sexual novels and how they try to get her to talk about how much her mom traumatized her. Instead of feeling guilt about it, she decides to only agree with her shrinks if they give her candy. Freakin' hysterical.

The other essay I LOVED was by Aimee Bender (who wrote "The Girl in the Flammable Skirt"). As a Highly Assimilated Jew myself I completely 100% saw myself in her story. I don't feel particularly religious, but always feel a spooky air of superstition around me, a fear of an "evil eye" if things are going too well--if I'm too happy, I'm screwed.

I read the book over several lunch breaks at work and found it a fun way to take myself out of my day.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide To Guilt," is a welcomed treasure! Nov. 3 2005
By Sarah Banner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Being a Modern Jewish girl, I sure do know guilt. I have felt a lot of it and after this book I don't feel so alone.

This wonderful book made me feel less guilty. My Grandfather has been a Cantor for over 50 years. I also attended a Jewish Day school and Jewish Summer camp. I felt guilty for wanting more; breaking away from that environment.

I identified with a lot of these stories. Some had me laughing hysterically and I cried at times too.

These true stories were written beautifully; honest, personal, heartfelt, and with lots of personality.

It's not just for women to read either! My husband loved it and identified with a it a lot! It's so nice to know that we are not alone out there and that we are finding our place in this world individually and as a whole. "The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide To Guilt," is a book long overdue. I feel less guilty now!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our book group loved it--smart, charming and funny Nov. 27 2005
By L. Hanson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I saw the editor and three of the writers speak in San Francisco earlier this month. The panel was so interesting that I chose the book for my book group and we just met to discuss the book and it was one of the most thought provoking discussions we've had. We had 12 people at our meeting ranging in age from 27-63 and what was interesting was that each member had different favorite stories (the stories were all good, but we each related to different ones). If you are part of a book club, I enthusiastically reccomend this book for a great evening of discussion. It really stirs things up.

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