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LAist Interview: Ruth Andrew Ellenson

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Still searching for that special Hanukkah or Chrismukkah gift? Ruth Andrew Ellenson has a suggestion for you – The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt – perfect for the girl or goy on your list (sorry, we couldn’t resist that one).

Released by Dutton in August and edited by Ellenson, the book is a collection from 28 women writers — including Aimee Bender and Daphne Merkin — who explore what it means to be a woman and a Jew. Essays like “A Grandmother’s Biological Clock,” “Oy Christmas Tree, Oy Christmas Tree,” ”True Confessions of a JDate Addict” and “Great, My Daughter is Marrying a Nazi,” are at once funny, smart, self-pitying and inspiring.

Here’s what Ellenson had to say about Jewishness and LA life in general.

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Age and Occupation: 32, Writer.

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
I've lived in LA a good 15 years off and on. Mostly in Jewy Jewville: Fairfax and Pico-Robertson.

Where are you from?
I was born in Jerusalem and also raised in New York. Hence, my residing in the Chood.

So why a “Guide to Guilt”?
You don’t have guilt unless you love something. I realized how divided my loyalties were as a person and as a Jew — I was caught between the two worlds. [I’ve found] that a lot of minority groups can also feel that push pull…I’ve found that black women can especially relate.

Jewish guilt is a pop culture commodity…but Jews don’t have a monopoly on guilt.

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What’s the difference between Catholic guilt and Jewish guilt?
Catholics win the guilty sex battle.