Recently, she sat down with me at a Brooklyn coffee house to discuss lox, alienation, ironic Christmas trees, and other pressing concerns of the Jewish people. I had a thesis in graduate school that was about a third of the length of the book, so I knew that I had a base. When I was in my 20s, my roommate and I had an apartment that looked like the inside of Urban Outfitters; it was very decorated with lanterns and we had a lot of Christmas lights up and then we thought—she was Jewish too—it would be fun to decorate a tree.We’re also giving away a free copy of her book–see details at the end of the interview. The first story I wrote that I knew was at a different level was “Another Cake.” That is the most Jewish story in the book and it was a breakthrough for me. So she got a tiny 10-dollar Charlie Brown tree and brought it home on the subway and we had this inspiration. We looked around and there was a postcard of Woody Allen on the bulletin board, and we both said, “He’s going on the top of the tree.” So that was my first ironic tree.There are lots of non-Jewish men and women who join Jewish dating sites with the objective of meeting a Jewish partner.By not clearly indicated that their websites or apps are exclusively for Jewish singles, these sites are sending the message that’s it’s really ok for anyone to use their sites regardless of religious beliefs.That means that they will not, under any circumstances marry someone who is not of the Jewish faith.This is based on a belief system nearly 4,000 years old — so it’s been tried and tested.
But when a widowed Holocaust survivor and close friend of ours wanted to marry another close friend, my wife was supportive; clearly they were not going to have any children. Holding the Jewish community's line on not performing interfaith marriages or the happiness of this couple?The breakthrough moment I even know—the narrator is trying to find a rabbi to officiate the funeral (a prickly thing, because her father had decided he wanted to be cremated) and there is a line, “No rabbi would touch it.” Although many of your stories are not overtly Jewish, the voice throughout feels intrinsically Jewish in a similar (but different) way as “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” are Jewish without announcing it. Writing makes me realize that I’m Jewish in a way that living doesn’t. When I entered the world or went to college (still a ton of Jews there), I started to notice we had some things in common: We talked over each other, we argued, whatever it was, that hyper-verbal thing. Someone once said to me, “Catholics are afraid of God. And I’ve had one almost every year since—sometimes I forget to get it, and sometimes I have a Christmas Eve party for Jews and non-Jews who haven’t gone home. I think Christmas is one of the best Jewish holidays, because you are free.To me, the book shoots from the hip of an irreverent secular Jewish feminist sensibility that is particularly exciting because I have never seen it done quite like this. I didn’t notice I was Jewish growing up because I lived on Long Island and everyone was Jewish. And then through writing: the narrators dating guys who weren’t Jewish—that would come up. When I was dating non-Jewish guys in real life, I didn’t know I cared. Jews are afraid of their parents.” We’re a story, originally I had, “There are bagels! A hundred years ago when I was in grad school, I did a nonfiction thesis on contemporary Jewish writers where I interviewed all these authors about what it means to be a Jewish American writer today and how they feel about the classification.His parents are rather conservative I believe, and he is a daddy’s boy. But until this guy takes his profile down, declares himself your boyfriend, and tells you he loves you, I don’t think you have very much to worry about, my dear.He may be stringing me along because you have said ‘any sex is better than no sex.’ His two exes were Jewish.