I’m grateful to Cedar House Audio, producer Lyssa Brown and narrator Susanna Burney for the outstanding audiobook version of The Skeptic and the Rabbi they produced. Their attention to detail, especially in a book with so many Hebrew words and phrases, was of the highest caliber. I couldn’t be happier with it! It’s available through Audible, Libro.FM, Google Play, Kobo, HooplaDigital, Audiobooks.com, and many other platforms. If you get your audiobooks from your local library, please request it. Listen to a clip here:
Judy Offers Up Tips & Insights
at Jerusalem Women’s
This past May, Judy headlined several workshops at the annual Jerusalem Women’s Writers Seminar, presenting her “FUNdamentals of Humor Writing” to a group of over 250 women from across the globe. Judy’s insights and pointers garnered many laughs, with participants scribbling down the many practical tips Judy offered up. Later on that day, Judy led a workshop on “The Art of Persuasive Writing,” a tutorial that analyzed the various elements of a successful opinion essay typically published by today’s high profile media outlets. The workshop’s goal was to help female writers break into this generally male-dominated niche.
Praise for The Skeptic and the Rabbi
“Honesty shines throughout the book, as Gruen refuses to sugarcoat her narrative. She frankly discusses the many real challenges she encountered in her decision to take upon various mitzvot. The memoir is a terrific read for anyone curious about the Torah lifestyle.” – Leah Aharoni, Jewish Action Magazine
“Laugh out loud funny, narrated by a character you quickly come to love. I always wondered if well-written ba’al teshuva memoir could be done. Judy Gruen has shown me how.” – Allison Josephs, founder and director of Jew in the City
“Gruen’s ebullient positivity is a counterweight to religion-as-abuse memoirs… an uplifting spin on an often-misunderstood life choice.” – Library Journal
“For the Jewish reader looking to expand his or her understanding of Torah and Judaism, this book will resonate deeply. This is a book that will stay with you for a very long time. It is food for the soul.” – Amazon reader review
“[A] charming and well-written book that explains a difficult subject with elegance and restraint of style that is admirable. . . This is the kind of thing I would have liked to have passed to relatives and friends who wondered what strange lifestyle I was getting myself into many years ago.” – Amazon reader review
We Californians are very spoiled, surrounded as we are by so much natural beauty. It helps to make up for the much less appealing aspects of life in the Golden State: high taxes, high citizens (check out our medical marijuana centers now as ubiquitous as Starbucks cafes!), stratospherically high real estate prices, and earthquakes.
So, Jeff and I were thrilled to return to our favorite vacation spot, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, a sparking jewel of California’s central coast. Fires in recent years made access to Highway 1 impossible for long stretches, but now that iconic twisty road that hugs the gorgeous coastline is open for business. We stayed at the Pfeiffer Big Sur Lodge, which we love, and where Steller’s jays will gladly join you on your cottage porch for breakfast or lunch, just waiting for you to drop — or toss — some crumbs their way. I can’t stop gazing at these birds; the blue of their feathers is rich enough for ink.