As Judy Gruen walked down the aisle and into her Orthodox Jewish future, her bouquet quivered in her shaky hand. Having grown up in a culture that proclaimed, “If it feels good, do it,” was she really ready to live the life of “rituals, rules, and restraints” that the Torah prescribed?
“The Skeptic and the Rabbi” is a rare memoir that is both poignant and funny, ringing with honesty, about what it means to remain authentic to yourself while charting a new yet ancient spiritual path at odds with the surrounding culture. Gruen writes touchingly about her family, including her two sets of grandparents, who influenced her in wildly opposite ways. As she navigates her new life with the man she loves and the faith she also loves―surviving several awkward moments, including when the rabbi calls to tell her that she accidentally served unkosher food to her Shabbat guests―Gruen brings the reader right along for the ride. Reading this wry, bold and compelling memoir, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and when you’re finished, you may also have a sudden craving for chicken matzo ball soup―kosher, of course.
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Judy Gruen has earned an international following for her incisive, compelling, and often funny books and essays on topics ranging from marriage and motherhood to Jewish spirituality to why bad contractors happen to good people.
Her memoir, “The Skeptic and the Rabbi,” (September 5, 2017), has been hailed as a “tour de force” by New York Times bestselling author Ruchama King Feuerman, and relates Gruen’s poignant, often funny journey from secular Jew to a Torah observant life. Her previous books include “Till We Eat Again: A Second Helping” (May 2012); “MBA Admissions for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools,” (2011) co-written Linda Abraham; “The Women’s Daily Irony Supplement” (2007), which won multiple awards, including ForeWord Magazine’s Humor Book of the Year (2007) and “Carpool Tunnel Syndrome: Motherhood as Shuttle Diplomacy,” (revised 2014).
Gruen’s work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Saturday Evening Post, American Thinker, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Los Angeles Times, Aish.com, Jewish Journal, Kveller, TheJewishWoman.org, and many other media outlets, as well as 10 anthologies.