A child who never quite fit in, Rebecca Dana worshipped at the altar of Truman Capote and Nora Ephron, dreaming of one day ditching Pittsburgh and moving to New York, her Jerusalem. After graduating from college, she made her way to the city to begin her destiny. For a time, life turned out exactly as she'd planned: glamorous parties; beautiful people; the perfect job, apartment, and man. But when it all came crashing down, she found herself catapulted into another world. She moves into Brooklyn's enormous Lubavitch community, and lives with Cosmo, a thirty-year-old Russian rabbi who practices jujitsu on the side.
While Cosmo, disenchanted with Orthodoxy, flirts with leaving the community, Rebecca faces the fact that her religion - the books, magazines, TV shows, and movies that made New York seem like salvation - has also failed her. As she shuttles between the world of religious extremism and the world of secular excess, Rebecca goes on a search for meaning.
Trenchantly observant, entertaining as hell, a mix of Shalom Auslander and The Odd Couple, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde is a thought-provoking coming-of-age story for the twenty-first century.
"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." - Publishers Weekly
"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." - Kirkus
"Fascinating and engrossing, reading Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde is like looking into the windows of compelling people you want to both meet and love. By the end of the book you will do just that. (Meeting and loving the people in the book, that is. Not peering into windows like some sort of peeping tom. Probably.)" - Jenny Lawson, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened
"Rebecca Dana meets the jujitsu rabbi in the same place fairy tale meets reality, which is the same place all of us meet our lives: nowhere near where we expected. Let me be clear: I've never met the author, and I had neither the time nor the inclination to blurb this book, but I started reading her odd, engrossing, tragicomic coming-of-adulthood tale and couldn't stop." - Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of The Red Book and Shutterbabe
"I'm kvelling!! Rebecca Dana's brilliant memoir touchingly and daringly juxtaposes the mysterious world of Orthodox Jewry with the even more mysterious world of fashion. I was amused and ver clempt, all at the same time." - Simon Doonan, author of Gay Men Don't Get Fat
"Rebecca Dana's story is a lot like New York City - bustling and busy, packed with Jews and jobs, faith and friendship, accident and ambition. With Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde, Dana joins the ranks of women who have come to New York, forged identities on their own alongside improbable allies, and lived to tell the tale with wit and grace." - Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry
"A fantastic read. Will make you want to take your life by the horns." - Morgan Spurlock, Academy Awardnominated documentary filmmaker and reformed couch surfer
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Rebecca Dana is a writer and journalist in New York. She is a former senior correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, where she wrote the weekly "Social Diaries" magazine column and reported on fashion, culture and entertainment. She has been a featured commentator on such shows as the Today show, The Joy Behar Show, Inside Edition, Access Hollywood, and NPR's "On the Media" and "Fair Game with Faith Salie." She has made numerous appearances on MSNBC and CNN.
Before joining The Daily Beast, Dana was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Observer. She has also been published in: Rolling Stone Magazine, Vanity Fair Italia, Slate, Men's Vogue, The Washington Post, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Men's Journal, and The New York Times. She attended Yale, where she was the editor in chief of the Yale Daily News. She lives in Manhattan with her husband.
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