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Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde: A True Story Hardcover – January 24, 2013
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When she moves to Crown Heights and becomes the roommate of Hasidic rabbi Cosmo (a move that struck me as motivated by "maybe I'll get a book deal out of this" rather than by financial necessity), Ms. Dana is fresh from a breakup with Chad, a guy she swears she thought was perfect, but who turned out to have been cheating on her (unprotected) for months while high. Although Ms. Dana dates and screws plenty of guys over the course of the year she lives in Crown Heights, and although she ends up married to "Jesse ... who gave me something too good to write about," she insists that she isn't looking for a man or a family, but a "community of meaning." She says that this is also the quest of (most notably) the girls of *Sex and the City.* I suppose one could make an argument that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte are a "community of meaning" (whatever that is), but they spend a ton of time on the HBO show looking for men, and even (Charlotte especially) building families. It's natural for people to want to create something that will go on after they die. Philosophers not quoted in *Jujitsu Rabbi* probably have explanations for this desire, but Ms. Dana has no interest in it.
And that's the other problem I had with this book. Any belief in the eternal, any desire to do something that will live on after one dies, is treated as a weird quirk of ultra-Orthodox Jews.Read more ›
The thing I appreciated the most as I read this book was Dana's decency as she associated with people from "all walks of life". It is very heady to be speaking at length with Meryl Streep, going to parties with NYC's elite, and attending luncheons with the likes of Jenny Sanford and Candace Bushnell herself. Yet she was able to see the beauty and draw in people from less extravagant and powerful places. Above all, she was able to treat with kind humanity those who would not deign to do the same for her. My favorite illustration of this is the time when a young orthodox boy threw a rock at her and in the process lost his hat. Ms. Dana ran down the street after the hat and returned it to the teen, falling and scraping her knee in the process.
Even though she eventually returned to Manhattan, Brooklyn was the final stop in Rebecca Dana's journey to making peace with herself in the world. As Ms. Dana put it, "You have to stop living as the person you want to be and start living as the person you are."
This is the autobiography has a very young feel to it.Read more ›
And once she settled in, she found a job as a columnist for The Daily Beast, and had the chance to attend the parties, wear the clothes, and socialize with the people she always dreamed of, plus she found the perfect relationship. But when the relationship suddenly turns sour, it leaves her confidence shaken and she wonders whether her life's ambitions were the right ones to pursue. She winds up moving into an apartment in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood with Cosmo, a lapsed Lubavitch rabbi who takes jujitsu classes and works at a copy shop while waiting for his green card.
As Rebecca tries to reconcile her job profiling fashion and society with the traditions of the Lubavitch community, she also struggles with questions of faith. A lapsed Reform Jew, she wonders whether she'd find fulfillment if she pursued God, religion, and marriage. But at the same time, Cosmo struggles with his own spirituality, as he tries to decide whether to continue pursuing his rabbinical ambitions or following his less ecumenical desires. The two live somewhat reversed lives for a while, with Rebecca exploring the Lubavitch religion and Cosmo eating bacon.
While Rebecca fancies herself a Carrie Bradshaw prodigy, in reality, she's a much more philosophical person.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is a cute story. Nothing to get excited about but I enjoyed it.Published 11 months ago by Classic Addict
An absolute joy for people who want fresh, lively characters.Published 11 months ago by Jeff Babineaux
Could not figure out who the audience for this is supposed to be. No character development, no insight into Cosmo's character, nor the author's. Read morePublished on May 13, 2014 by buttonwood
It was interesting to follow the life of the protagonist as she was stumbling through her new life. The writing was clear but not all that interesting.Published on March 6, 2014 by robin kates
Now this is my kind of contemporary writer and a woman. Young and impressionable, Rebecca Dana decides after graduating from college to move to New York City. Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Eugenia
Dana is a good writer, but I find the subject matter a little trivial. It feels a little too whiny like Sex and the City, which she often references... Read morePublished on September 16, 2013 by DC 423
I'm really torn about Rebecca Dana's "Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde." I wanted to like it and at times I did, and very much so. Read morePublished on August 15, 2013 by Cinthia Ritchie