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Modern Jewish Girls Guide To Guilt Hardcover – Aug 23 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (Aug. 12 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525948848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525948841
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,680,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.


"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 the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 28 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a jewish girl, I really relate Oct. 23 2005
By Emily - Published on
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, feel good, identifiable, laughable, guilty pleasure Jan. 21 2008
By E. Searle - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
amazing, feel good, identifiable, laughable, guilty pleasure- perfect for all Jewish girls out there who have kooky grandmothers, overbearing mothers, problems dating jewish men, etc, etc...This book is definitely needed and should be widely accepted.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need neither be a girl or guilty to enjoy this fun collection June 26 2007
By J. A Magill - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ruth Ellenson, the editor of this collection clearly worked overtime to gather a diverse group of women contributors to her "Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt." Much of the material here covered, dating, mothers, grandmothers, marriage, surely will come as no surprise and while well written will hardly rankle. Others, however, like Rabbi Sharon Brous's explanation of the tribulations of being a woman Rabbi will surely give much food for thought. Likewise the offering of novelist Aylete Waldman, as well written statement of Jewish anti-Zionism as one can find, will surely make more than a few readers uncomfortable. All the authors, or at least almost all of them, however, manage to mix a dollop of humor into their offering, keeping it entertaining even when topics turn weighty.

More than a few commentators have observed that we are living in an age of the renaissance of the essay as a form, whether on NPR's `This American Life' or the blogosphere. Ellenson here demonstrates how entertaining and provocative one can be when gathering contributions by a group of smart and thoughtful people. Generally funny, rarely preachy, and with enough schmaltz to make you giggle, this work will make a fine companion for summer travelers or even if you are just sitting around feeling guilty that you can't manage to get away.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diverse voices on what being Jewish means for women Oct. 18 2005
By Amy W. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
My sister bought me this book and I've been reading it over the holidays, story by story (I've skipped around a bit)but almost every story speaks about something powerful and thoughtful and funny (there were some that didn't for me, but I'm sure that's true for every reader). It's a phenomenal book, and it features not only some of my favorite writers but some of the most thought-provoking approaches to Judaism and women I've ever read.

The man from Israel who just posted a review obviously didn't read the book: there's nothing about the triumph of eating cheeseburgers on Yom Kippur (note to reviewer: try to read the actual book before you write about it in public! Reading reviews and then commenting on those just makes you look like an idiot)

What I found in these pages were great writers talking about a wide range of Jewish experiences--some I'd felt, some I didn't--but all of them taught me something and made me think about what being Jewish means to me (and, you know, I laughed a lot too) If you're expecting to hear about Jewish mothers (well, okay they're in there some) and liking bacon you will be surprised.
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
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!