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Are You A Hot Mamalah?


Author Lisa Alcalay Klug must like book covers with bling. Her first pop culture phenomenon, Cool Jew, which recently made “The 2012 Chanukah Gift Guide” in the Daily News and was a number one Amazon bestseller, features a thick gold chain with a sparkly emblem. Her follow-up title, Hot Mamalah. The Ultimate Guide for Every Women of the Tribe, screams hot pink and is decorated with glistening diamonds, which makes me want to walk around town and flaunt this book like a clutch purse.

But it’s the inside of this literary gem that makes me proud to be a Jewish woman. It starts out with “cocktails, mocktails & more,” so you know you’re in for a treat. She also gets right into the top 10 ways you know you’re a hot mamalah. You’ll have to read her book to find out if you cut the Dijon mustard. Hint: “Would you rather die than pay retail?” If you answer yes, then you’re a hot mamalah. How about,  “You love to stay out late and by late we mean tomorrow.” Again, this makes you a hot mamalah.

Lisa summarizes, “When life becomes one big smorgasbord, you amp up your appetite for having fun and having chutzpah, for feeding yourself, your family, your friends, and your fantasies. ‘Your Life: The Shmorg’ is about playing by your own rules, speaking your mind, looking fine, and saving a dime.”

Bottom line, Klug inspires readers to “Surrender to the kitsch and be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

For all the funnies she delivers, Klug has a notable serious side. Living in Jerusalem, she is an award-winning journalist, public speaker, and daughter of an Ashkenazi Holocaust survivor. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Shape, Self, and many others. A humorist, slam poet and public speaker, Klug has presented at more than 100 venues thoughout North America, Europe, and Israel.

Obviously, she has a passion for Jewish culture, and after reading her book, so do I.

And one more thing…lookie HERE for the Hot Mamalah Hanukkah giveaway!

My Favorite Funny Mom Books

An abbreviated version of this blog is posted on www.SkinnyScoop.com. 

I usually avoid anything that has the word “skinny” in it, but when I had an opportunity with SkinnyScoop.com to list my favorite funny parenting books by Jewish moms, I couldn’t resist.

These books all have to do with the oys and joys of raising children. They are collections of real-life, humorous essays that are quick to read and the perfect companion in carpool line. It doesn’t matter what religion you are because we all want the same thing, and that is for our children to grow up and be happy, independent adults who contribute to the betterment of society and don’t necessarily wind up in therapy and blame their mothers for all their problems.

Let’s put it this way: When it comes to divulging our innermost feelings about motherhood, we’re all open books.

Mishegas of Motherhood. Raising Children To Leave The Nest…As Long As They Come Home For Dinner

Ellie S. Grossman

And since this is my list, it woud be remiss NOT to start with my very own book called Mishegas of Motherhood. Raising Children to Leave the Nest…as Long as They Come Home for Dinner, which combines domestic satire with Jewish wisdom that applies to all modern families. I’ve been called the “Jewish Erma Bombeck,” which is like the ultimate compliment because this late, great humor writer could make anything sound funny, even leftover meatloaf. My momoir is nominated for the Shirley You Jest best humor book award, so I’m not the only one who thinks its’ funny.

The word “mishegas,” by the way, is a Yiddish expression that means “insanity” or “madness,” but is used in a playful way to describe how children drive their parents crazy (and vice versa, of course). Favorite chapters include “Answering The Big Question: Is There A God?”, “Everything I Need To Know I Learned From My Dog,” “Chocolate Makes Everyday Sweeter,” “Planning A Dream Bar Mitzvah Is A Nightmare,” “Teen Brain Baffles Parents,” and the award-winning “Jewish Girls Don’t Camp,” which inspired a webisode on the Internet-based sitcom “In The Motherhood,” starring Leah Remini.

The book also contains east-to-understand explanations of Jewish holidays, rituals, traditions, as well as recipes and anecdotes that are guaranteed to tickle your soul—or your money back!



Brain Dead in the Burbs and Cooking Your Way Back to Sanity

Laura Roodman-Edwards-Ray

When it comes to mishegas, this book is full of it. Brain Dead in the Burbs and Cooking Your Way Back to Sanity will make your crazy life seem sane. Warning: You’ll laugh; You’ll cook. You’ll cry. Laura Roodman-Edwards-Roodman-Edwards-Ray (not a typo, she married and divorced the same jerk not once but twice and is now happily married to love of her life) gives you the dish on not only her dysfunctional relationships but also her insanely delicious recipes that correspond with each chapter. By the time you get to Chapter 6 (“How To Divorce A Friend” with recipe on Grandma Betty’s Health Bar Cake), you’ll be her BFF, not to mention 10 pounds heavier. This irresistible memoir is both hilarious and fattening with mouthwatering recipes that include Helga’s Orgasmic Brownies, Grandma Joanie’s Beefy Meatballs, Aunt Gail’s Famous Brisket, Kimmie’s Creamy Cheese Ball, Sven’s Crabcakes, and that’s just an appetizer. Just like her chocolate martinis, this book is irresistible, and I can’t wait to take a bite out of Laura’s next installment “Still Brain Dead and Cooking.”




Confessions of a Scary Mommy

Jill Smokler

It seems like these days so many stay-at-home moms have nothing better to do with their time than chronicle their parenting sagas online, but “Scary Mommy” blogger Jill Smokler took her ramblings one giant leap further. She published her first compilation of hysterical child-rearing moments in Confessions of A Scary Mommy, which hit the The New York Times bestseller’s list its first week out. She also manages an award-winning website that averages more than two million page views a month and features The Scary Mommy Confessional , which offers a private and totally anonymous forum for moms and dads to spill their juicy secrets, their fears, their triumphs. It’s like therapy, only free.

Her website also offers plenty of Scary Mommy merchandise, including everything from coffee mugs and key chains to iphone cases and bumper stickers. Talk about branding. This nice Jewish girl even sells Christmas tree ornaments.

So what if this Baltimore mom is no balaboosta (a Yiddish term that means the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess, etc). That’s exactly what makes Smokler so successful and her book a must read, even if she uses the F-bomb way too often.

Plus, in her spare time, this curly haired entrepreneur started Scary Mommy Nation, a non-profit entity that helps members of the Scary Mommy Community who are financially struggling, whether its kicking in money for a Thanksgiving feast, birthday presents for their kids, or summer camp.

Who has time to make a homemade meal every night when she’s too busy working on her next project, The Scary Mommy Handbook, which is due out in April 2013.

Besides, I doubt if her kids mind eating pizza for dinner.



Rebel Without A Minivan

Tracy Beckerman

Since when does a dog eating garbage out of the trash can and throwing up on the rug inspire the creative process? Since clever wit Tracy Beckerman wrote Rebel Without a Minivan, a collection of musings from a New York City girl who trades her subway pass for a more practical vehicle and everything else that goes along with a crazy normal life in the woodchuck-infested yards of suburban New Jersey. A former successful TV producer and stand-up comic, Beckerman shares the best of her nationally syndicated humor column, LOST IN SUBURBIA®, which includes funny observations about marriage, motherhood, the mall, McDonalds French fries, mildew, and, of course, a mutt named Riley.

The chapters are short and spikey, just like Beckerman’s signature hairdo (she’s a rebel alright), and in “Who Are These Children, and Why Are They Calling Me Mommy?” she writes about topics that all moms can relate to, including sleep deprivation, bad attitudes, her daughter’s favorite “blankie,” the S-E-X talk, geometry homework, and reality shows.

Her next book is due out Spring 2013. Can’t wait!


Hot Mamalah  

Lisa Alcalay Klug

Let me start by saying that Lisa Alcalay Klug is not a mom, but this author combines funny and Jewish better than any woman in the tribe, so I included her in my list. Besides, her book is called Hot Mamalah, which is a Yiddish word of endearment for all Jewish women, and God only knows us moms can use a little spice in our love lives. This book celebrates our strengths, challenges, and triumphs, from PMS to menopausal.

In her “ABC’s of She,” she dishes up a delicious smorgasbord of everything whole-y and holy feminine for having fun and having chutzpah, with humor essays, adorable illustrations, how-to’s, and more. From cocktails to cupcakes, Purim costumes to bar aliases, Hot Mamalah whets an appetite for getting the most out of life, love, and your closet.

As the follow up to her first pop culture phenomenon Cool Jew, which was a number one Amazon bestseller and National Jewish Book Award finalist, Hot Mamalah gives fans what they’ve come to expect from this award-winning journalist, popular public speaker, and daughter of an Ashkenazi Holocaust survivor.

It’s hard to resist this latest mensch of a book with a cover that states, “You don’t have to be Jewish! But it wouldn’t hurt.”

My favorite quote about the Jewish mother: As long as you keep laughing, you wont get an ulcer. Just a hernia.

Enter the Hot Mamalog giveaway, featuring jewelry, CD, cookware, and a gift certificate.



Best Friends, Occasional Enemies

Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

So here’s another read that doesn’t exactly fit into my Jewish mom book category, but New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline (pronounced Scot-oh-lee-nee) is one of my favorite writers and she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. And she has dogs. That should count for something. Growing up, she says her friends would get Hanukkah “gelt”, and she thought it was Hanukkah “guilt”, so I liked her already. Not only that, she and her only daughter Francesca Serritella collaborated on a fabulously funny and heartwarming book, Best Friends, Occasional Enemies, which is a must-read for every mother and daughter.

Joined at the hip, the twosome share genes and jeans, if you know what I mean.  They’re number one on each other’s speed dial and they tell each other everything—well, almost everything. They share shoes and clothes—except one very special green jacket, which almost caused a cat fight. Inspired by their weekly column, “Chick Wit” for The Philadelphia Inquirer, this book is one you’ll have to put down—just to stop laughing.

Best known for her legal thrillers, Scottoline is sometimes called the female John Grisham because she is one of those successful big-time litigators turned best-selling novelists. She has 18 fiction and two non-fiction titles in her portfolio, averaging a book a year!

In the Introduction of Best Friends, Occasional Enemies Scottoline, a divorced mom, starts out, “Here’s what I’ve learned in my life:  Motherhood has no expiration date.
This means that even though Daughter Francesca has grown up and moved out of the house, I’m still busy being her mother. 
And, happily, her best friend…”

She writes about her own Mother Mary, who is 86-years-old old, and is still busy being her mother with an inner voice that warns her not to buy dented cans, not to leave her blow dryer near the sink, and not to put too much spaghetti on her fork or she’ll choke.

This book includes their hilarious and often quite touching takes on the joys and occasional frustrations of the mother-daughter bond, including sharing secrets, counting carbs, and aging gracefully, not.

Best of all, you’ll recognize yourself in their stories because we all struggle with the same things, like duvet covers, the preemptive pee, and toenail clippings.

Follow her video documentary on her puppies!

Got any favorite mom books to add to the list?



Blacklisted Book Celebrates 1st Birthday

I admire authors who have chutzpah, and funny girl Lela Davidson is one of them. The cover of her book Blacklisted from the PTA shows her legs in hot pink stilettos dangling from a shopping cart. If that doesn’t peek your interest enough to read what’s inside I don’t know what does. Continue reading

Best Beach Reads Summer 2012

It’s summertime, and you know what that means. Sending your kids away to camp so that you can enjoy a few peaceful weeks to yourself.

Kidding! (Well, maybe not).

The lazy days of summer are the perfect time to catch up on your reading, even if your vacation involves floating on a noodle in the E. coli contaminated (albeit picturesque) Lake of the Ozarks. My TBR list involves a little bit of everything…chick lit, romance, thriller, serial mystery, YA novels, comedy, and Jewish historical titles that will make you laugh, cry, contemplate the meaning of life, or all of the above, depending on your mood. Google these titles to find out more, and get ready to escape reality for awhile, at least long enough to forget how many days left until school starts again. With these page-turners, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen.
Continue reading

Where Have You Read 50 Shades?

I finally broke down. Now if I only could put it down.

Jewish Book Clubs Offer Good Reads and Eats

Eating and reading are my two favorite things to do,” boasts Wendy Pace, a gourmet cook and avid reader who blends her culinary and literary passions into every aspect of her life. It’s only natural then that this 38-year-old Kirkwood mom of two, who is a local food broker and the wife of the director of the St. Louis County Library, coordinates a unique Jewish reading group called “Cook and Book,” which heats up regularly at Congregation Shaare Emeth in Ladue. Continue reading

‘Forever Lily’ Blends Dreams and Reality for Emotional Storytelling

Every once in awhile I devour a book in a day, not counting the times I crammed for a college exam. A good story allows me to escape into another world as each page unfolds with curious characters, twisting plots, and complex human emotions that stay with me long after I read the acknowledgements. Then again, I sobbed uncontrollably throughout the memoir about a dog named Marley. Continue reading

Passover Storytelling Goes Beyond the Haggadah

Passover is all about telling (or retelling) a great story. The Passover story, in particular, is about the history of our people. The story starts out thousands of years ago when the Jews were slaves and built ancient cities for Egyptian kings called Pharaohs. The Egyptians were worried that the Jewish slaves would become too strong and fight for their freedom, so Pharaoh ordered the drowning of all male babies born to the Jews. To save her newborn son, one Jewish woman placed her baby in a basket and asked her daughter Miriam to take him to the reeds in the river and hide him. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and named him Moses, which means “drawn from the water,” and unknown to the princess, appointed Moses’ real mother to care for him while he lived in Pharaoh’s palace.

Sounds like a soap opera, doesn’t it? Continue reading

Hanukkah Books Capture Hearts of All Generations

If I had a quarter for every time someone advised me, “Ellie, you should write a book,” I would be…let me think here…I need my calculator…about $5.25 richer. Actually, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to finish a children’s picture book, get it published, and sell my soul to amazon. com. Continue reading

The PJ Library Invites Families To Snuggle With Books

Do you know what I miss most about my early childhood? Footsie pajamas. Even to this day, I envy toddlers who go to the grocery store in their cozy, flame-resistant sleepers with rubberized grippers. I also have fond memories of snuggling under the blankets before bedtime and having my dad read to me the same Curious George book over and over again. To me, comfy pajamas and imaginative stories go together like, well, peanut butter and jelly, or latkes and dreidels. Continue reading