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 Writers Seminar
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
Have you ever done something that was both so spontaneous and also so “big” that you almost couldn’t believe you did it? Well, about six weeks ago I realized that the annual Jerusalem Women’s Writers Seminar was coming up fast. I had never been to it, and I wanted to go. Israel is close to my heart but not to my house. It’s 11,000 miles away and a 14-hour flight, if you go direct.
I emailed the conference organizer (we knew of one another professionally) and basically invited myself to come and teach, and she agreed! About 250 women attended, as well as editors from the world of religious Jewish book and magazine publishing. I gave a presentation on the “FUNdamentals” of humor writing, which fortunately got a lot of laughs and also had the audience scribbling down tips I was offering. In the afternoon, I taught a workshop to 30 participants on the art of persuasive writing.
It was immensely gratifying to be able to share so much of what I have learned over many years as a writer with a larger community of writers. And, as it always is, it was immensely gratifying to be in Israel. In addition to teaching at the seminar, I had the opportunity to speak about my memoir, The Skeptic and the Rabbi, for members of AACI, the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel.
Altogether, I had a fantastic week, and wrote a column about one very special aspect of my experience for the Jewish Journal: Gifts from Jerusalem.