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Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde: A True Story

3.1  ·  Rating Details ·  583 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
The ultimate fish-out-of-water tale . . .
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 parti
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 24th 2013 by Amy Einhorn Bks: Putnam
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Community Reviews

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Jan 20, 2013 christa rated it liked it
Whenever I read a memoir by a writer who is unknown to me (and not a freshly rehabilitated drug addict -- strangers I will blindly read), it always inspires a variation of the same fan fiction about how this book came to be.

In the case of Rebecca Dana’s “Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde” it goes like this:

Scene: Modern-day dinner party.

Characters: Would-be memoirist standing at a table covered in top shelf booze surrounded by a gaggle of tipsy friends and acquaintances on tippier shoes.

Jan 30, 2013 Florine rated it it was ok
I was expecting something funnier, with a more detailed relationship between the rabbi & the blonde.
It is really more about the author's journey after a breakup, thinking about life, future, how to cope & what to do with her life. I wanted more of the relationship with Cosmo, and felt short-changed a little.
Jaclyn Day
Mar 24, 2013 Jaclyn Day rated it it was ok
This memoir of an occasionally hard-partying, fashion-obsessed Manhattan woman who relocates to the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn after a break-up to become the platonic roommate of a jujtisu-studying Hasidic Russian rabbi named Cosmo seems like a good premise, right? What’s not to like?

For some reason, I could not get through this book. I have a new policy about putting books aside if I’m not feeling them—something I didn’t do for a very, very long time. Despite that policy, I stuck th
Dec 31, 2013 Florence rated it really liked it
Rebecca Dana is a native of Pittsburgh who always wanted to live in Manhattan. After a break up with her long time boyfriend, she ended up living in a rodent infested walk up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Her roommate is a young rabbi with many religious friends in the neighborhood. It may have been a setback in her life, but I was tickled to hear about how the Lubavitchers , a sect of ultra conservative Jews, live their everyday lives. Young women with wigs and hordes of young child ...more
Nicole Rhaven
I won this book from First Reads in trade for my honest review.

How do you rate someone's life story?

How they perceive it in a book, I suppose.

I thought that I was going to enjoy this one. I thought it was going to be cleverly witty, but it wasn't; the author tried too hard by going into way too much detail to reach her point, and by the time she reach said point you kinda lost interest in what she was getting at.
I thought that it would get into the relationship of what the title implied as wel
Jan 26, 2013 Tracey rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, four-star
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, although it suffers from a little superficiality. It's a self-discovery story that doesn't take itself too seriously. I would have liked more of the jujitsu rabbi himself, and some greater exploration of what she learned about herself from hanging out with her Hasidic neighbors, but overall I recommend this title as a light and easy read.
Kels Fidler
Nov 01, 2012 Kels Fidler rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it
In JUJITSU RABBI AND THE GODLESS BLOND, Rebecca Dana chronicles her love of all things New York - the fashion, the culture, the trend setters and the city itself. After coming out of a devastating break-up and moving into an apartment with a Russian rabbi, she examines her life - relationships, work, worshiping at the altar of New York - and tries to figure out if her chosen religion, following the guru Carrie Bradshaw, is what she needs to be doing with her life.

Self-indulgent? A little. She s
Feb 09, 2013 Christine rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, reviewed
When this book first landed in my hands, I thought, "Great, yet another memoir by a Carrie Bradshaw-wannabe whose Sex in the City lifestyle falls apart after a breakup." There were parts of the book that were just tiresome -- the name-dropping ("Tina Brown! Tina Brown!"), and the accounts of clubs and bars and parties that made up her vapid Manhattan existence.

But what was so refreshing about the memoir and made me keep reading is that Rebecca Dana is so damn unapologetic about what she wanted
Feb 03, 2013 wade rated it really liked it
Bare in mind that the reviewer is a 60 year plus male who is reading about many things that are not high on his list of interests like New York City, fashion week and Lubavitch Judaism and I still went with four stars. So that should indicate the book is very well written and captured my audience even though its subject was far outside the middle America where I live. Ms. Dana writes realistically and humorously about the ups and downs in her life in the big city. She was a girl in Pittsburgh th ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Amy rated it it was ok
It's difficult to feel a sympathetic connection to an author who says things like "In a world full of people like do you get anyone to care about anything" and "Do as much good in the world as you can, and make some money doing it" (p. 232). "Most of the sane world will think this is insipid" (p. 197). Pretty much sums it up. This isn't a horrible book, I just can't relate to it and it's not for me. If you love fashion and think Sex & the City is the best show ever made, this book m ...more
Jan 30, 2016 Mom2nine rated it did not like it
Gratuitous use of "rabbi" to sell a rambling slice of the author's life. Dana repeatedly calls being a mother shallow and confining; this from a woman who paid someone to asphyxiate her for a near-death experience toward spiritual awakening. It is hard to believe that Dana has made her living writing. Very little humor and a bit of insight into the Hasidic Jewish life by a shallow, self-centered narrator.
Jan 07, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was ok
While some of the episodes are funny, as a whole I found the book disjointed and choppy.
calico Rosenberg
Nov 16, 2016 calico Rosenberg rated it really liked it
but... one more year for what??!! (i turned 27 a few days before reading this novel, so.....)
Lulu Johnson
Jan 03, 2017 Lulu Johnson rated it really liked it
I highly enjoyed this memoir. Dana's writing is entertaining and I liked the subject matter.
Jul 10, 2014 Frances rated it it was ok
For a generation of women weaned on episodes of “Sex and the City,” the raw reality of New York can come as a surprise. Sure there are ample opportunities for brunch, but newspaper columnists with a closet full of Monolos? As if! Rebecca Dana’s memoir is about the disappointments and revelations of New York after she found a way to fit into the fancy world and cover the bill. As an infant New Yorker myself, and one raised on the same formula, there was a lot that resonated for me in “Jujitsu Rab ...more
Sep 18, 2016 Vonetta rated it it was ok
I'm speaking cautiously because I'm in the process of writing a memoir; I'm also an unknown who thinks she has an entertaining story, so I'm going to be understanding here bc I want my book judged objectively.

That being said, I think this story has so much potential that wasn't tapped. I felt that there was too much exposition -- too much explaining and "telling" -- and not enough showing. There was dialogue, but it didn't really make the characters richer or add to the narrative; much of that w
Larry Hoffer
Feb 07, 2013 Larry Hoffer rated it really liked it
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Rebecca Dana dreamed of the day she would come to New York to pursue the glamorous life she knew she was destined for. Like so many young women influenced by Carrie Bradshaw's life in Sex in the City, Rebecca wanted to go to the right parties, wear the right clothes, date the right guys, and follow the right path. "I wish I wanted to fix cleft palates in Africa, but the truth is I wanted a glamorous life."

And once she settled in, she found a job as a columnist for The D
Jan 26, 2013 Dawn rated it liked it
When I picked up this book, I figured it was about how two different people meet and unlikely though it may seem, become friends. While Cosmo (the jujitsu rabbi whose apartment the author ends up sharing) and Rebecca interact and attend Jewish dinners and celebrations, this book is more about the author's journey of discovering who she is, what she wants, and being OK with what she finds.

At the beginning, I was a little bored. Not that the author's beginnings in New York are dull (and how can yo
Cinthia Ritchie
Jul 21, 2013 Cinthia Ritchie rated it really liked it
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. Yet there is a distance to the voice, an almost superficial tone that creeps up and discredits the authenticity.
The basic premise: Dana longs to live a "Sex and the City" type of life and moves to New York, becomes a successful journalist, meets the 'perfect' guy who turns out to be not-so-perfect, and lives a fairytale life. After this all falls apart, she moves
Feb 17, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it
It was an interesting exercise to read a memoir written by someone my age. Dana has a fun, casual writing style, and her story of her year spent living in two completely different worlds was fascinating.

The author touches on a distinct challenge I believe many in my generation struggle with - the search for real family, real community, real faith, real love, real anything. In this age of "Facebook friends" who often don't know the first thing about you, and peer groups that are formed only thro
Nov 07, 2012 Sara rated it liked it
Received this book as a Goodreads First Read. Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher for providing this copy for review. I entered the drawing because the title and book description sounded promising - I expected the godless blonde and the rabbi to passionately represent their positions and at the end, come to a meeting of the minds and hearts. Not what happened. Instead the book is a memoir of a young journalist, a Carrie Bradshaw "wanna be", who finds herself rooming with a ultra-Orthodox ra ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
I didn't really know what to expect when I first downloaded Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde. The title intrigued me so I gave it a try. I am so glad I did.

This non-fiction account of 27 year old Rebecca Dana and her Carrie Bradshaw "Sex and the City" Manhattan life and how it all came crashing down only to find herself the roommate of a young Russian Rabbi in Crown Heights is on the one side a journey into self realization and on the other side a discovery into self sabotage.

Ms. Dana found
Jan 11, 2013 Angela rated it liked it
I find many memoirs to be a bit pretentious as they meander through time and space attempting to give an individual's life greater meaning by connecting it to a larger societal context. Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde certainly falls into this category, especially as the author admits to the shallowness of her life's ambitions. Rebecca Dana's dream from childhood is to move to New York, living the life depicted in Sex and the City. She achieves this dream with a job as a reporter giving her ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Pamela rated it liked it
Enjoyable, easy-to-read memoir of the year that Rebecca Dana lived with Cosmo the Orthodox Jewish rabbi, in Brooklyn. Rebecca is a journalist with The Daily Beast, and when her boyfriend dumps her in Manhattan, she moved to Crown Heights and roomed with Cosmo, a Hasidic immigrant who is seriously questioning his faith.

The book touches on Rebecca’s friendship with Cosmo as the fodder for questioning life, but focuses more on Rebecca’s life and perspective of the glamorous fashion industry she wri
Jan 30, 2013 Sophia rated it liked it
Shelves: freebies
I got this ARC in a Shelf Awareness giveaway and, once again, read it extremely belatedly. Thank you to Shelf Awareness and Amy Einhorn Books!

This book was entertaining, no question. I had a good time reading about Rebecca and her doubting rabbi roommate, but at the end I wasn't sure, I guess, what the POINT of the book was. It seemed to me like she just reminisced and told a lot of stories from a certain period in her life, and then didn't really draw any lasting conclusions.

Mainly, this book
Aug 26, 2013 Jolene rated it it was ok
Dana's youthful angst makes this book read-able. Her book is a compare-and-contrast between the Orthodox customs practiced in Crown Heights and the SATC fashionista mores of her workplace colleagues. Her dearest friend in the Crown Heights set is her roommate, a.k.a, the jiujitsu rabbi, Cosmo. She used to have the perfect boyfriend but he betrayed her and Dana starts to wonder whether the SATC "dream" that she was pursuing is really inferior to the life path set out by the Lubavitchers who she u ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Janice rated it it was ok
This author tries to be a Sex in the City Carrie Bradshaw, but she never makes it. A girl from Pittsbugh (she actually went to Ellis), moves to NYC to become a journalist and live the glamorous life. She gets a job at The Daily Beast and has an interesting boyfriend for a while and is living her version of "the dream" until it all falls apart. The fact is, she's looking more for the dream that some internal satisfaction. She is broke and ends up moving to Brooklyn-- Crown Heights-- and moves in ...more
Laurent Fischer
Jan 18, 2013 Laurent Fischer rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ: The hilarious self deprecating true story of Rebecca Dana, a true fashion DIVA hoping to emulate sex-in-the-city Carrie Bradshaw's life After moving from PIttsburgh to escape a somewhat lonely and not so glamorous childhood. Rebecca gets the boy, the dream job @ NY Observer and moves into a brownstone in the village until she finds out that the boyfriend cheats, moves out and with a $24,000/year job has to move to Brooklyn's unfashionable ultra-orthodox Lubavitch enclave "Crown Heig ...more
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“Our first dreams grip us tightest and can refuse to let go. In some cases, that's a good thing - we need firemen and ballerinas, and Prince William did have to find a wife - but for the rest of us, it can be dangerous when you get lost in the details.” 1 likes
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