The University of Wisconsin Press
Memoir / Judaica / Social Issues
Bagels and Grits
A Jew on the Bayou
Jennifer Anne Moses
"Bagels and Grits is one of the most moving spiritual memoirs I've ever read. From beginning to end it held me enthralled."
—James Wilcox, director of creative writing, Louisiana State University and author of Heavenly Days and Hunk City more
Outstanding Book, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Books for Regional Special Interests, selected by the Public Library Association
Jennifer Anne Moses left behind a comfortable life in the upper echelons of East Coast Jewish society to move with her husband and children to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Searching for connection to her surroundings, she decided to volunteer at an AIDS hospice. But as she encountered a culture populated by French Catholics and Evangelical Christians, African Americans and Cajuns, altruistic nurses and nuns, ex-cons, street-walkers, impoverished AIDS patients, and healers of all stripes, she found she had embarked on an unexpected journey of profound self-discovery.
In a keenly observed memoir that embraces both pathos and humor, Moses takes us into a world that is strange and sad but also suffused with the holy. As witness to dire poverty and extreme adversity, Moses discovers a deeper commitment to her own faith-a Judaism that asks not for blind belief, but rather daily commitment. She recounts the challenges of taking on a life committed to God in a postmodern world that has little use for the divine. Telling her story of redemption with an honesty that goes right for the guts, she leaves the reader with new hope.
“This smart, funny, wise book is every kind of song—part cheering Broadway melody, part devout religious chant, part rousing gospel sing-along—and Jennifer Moses gets to sing all the parts, in her wisecracking, inviting, distinctive voice. Aren’t we all looking for that sign from God? With open eyes and an open heart, we will see them everywhere, just as she did.”—The Times-Picayune
Jennifer Anne Moses is a writer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her essays, reporting, reviews, and travel and opinion pieces have appeared frequently in the New York Times, Washington Post, Baton Rouge Advocate, Notre Dame Magazine, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Salon, Mademoiselle, Commentary, and many other popular publications. She is the author of the book Food and Whine: Confessions of a New Millennium Mom. In addition to her work as a writer and mother, she volunteers at St. Anthony's Home, a residence for AIDS patients in Baton Rouge, and teaches Hebrew at Beth Shalom Synagogue.
Jennifer Moses has a web site, with more information about this book: jenniferannemoses.com
LC: 2007011823 F
176 pp. 6 x 9
Cloth $26.95 t
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"A powerful, witty, honest, and probing spiritual autobiography of the first order. . . . Moses grows and grows in this book as she opens more and more to the love and faith and pain around her."
—Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus and The History of Last Night's Dream
"An enchanting, enthralling, and enlightening memoirpart Nora Ephron, part Harold Kushner, andhappilyuniquely Jennifer Anne Moses! An exciting, tender, and most affecting voyage of discovery."
—Jay Neugeboren, author of Imagining Robert, The Stolen Jew, and News from the New American Diaspora
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Updated January 31, 2013© 2013 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System