Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde

Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde

A True Story

Read by:

Audiobook Download
Additional Formats
  • Audiobook Download
  • ISBN 9781101605028
  • 402 Minutes (Verify)
  • Penguin Audio
  • Adult


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 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.


“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 Times–bestselling 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

“Rebecca Dana’s funny, juicy memoir of her Brooklyn year with a most original housemate goes down like a terrific New York cocktail—with some sweetness, a snappy twist of sublime, and plenty of heart.” —Julie Metz, New York Times–bestselling author of Perfection

“This is the beautifully told story of every smart young woman’s start in the big city, where dreams first come true and then they rain like hell all over you. Rebecca Dana is wise yet self-effacing, hysterical but dark. This book is the perfect photograph of the last agonies of being young.” —Choire Sicha, The Awl

“A fantastic read. Will make you want to take your life by the horns.” —Morgan Spurlock, Academy Award–nominated documentary filmmaker and reformed couch surfer
PRH Book Clubs Survey