Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish-Edited by Shana Liebman

Sex, Drugs & Gefilte Fish
Edited by Shana Liebman
Grand Central, Oct 26 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780446504621

This compilation by Heeb magazine combines humor with a profound look at being a Jewish-American assimilated into the country’s culture yet keeping oneself partially immersed in Judaism. The forty-eight essays are divided unequally into six classifications that cleverly reflect like for a Jew in the United States: sex, drugs, work, youth, family, body and soul. Each is well written to bring out an experience using PowerPoint as Caryn Aviv did rather than the Rabbi or “Lesbians at temple” in which Lisa Kron explains the meaning of “Please Rise” during the High Holy days using bowel obstruction for lucid denotation. Whether it is naked at the kibbutz (Rebecca Addelman) or seeing the Hebrew School teacher naked at her home (Eric Weingrad), readers will enjoy this irreverent yet relevant look at being Jewish in America. As my spouse fondly recalls growing up with an Orthodox mom, a pagan dad, and two leaning towards paganism brothers, he remains proud four decades after bringing out into the open over the kitchen table: the point spread during Chanukah with the pot being chocolate money. This collection is a terrific anthology that uses jocularity to tell the story of Jews adapting in America several generations after having our centuries old ancestral names anglicized at Ellis.

Harriet Klausner

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