No Room For Shiksas In These Temples

I call novelist Laurie Graff Nov. 16.

Her new book is called The Shiksa Syndrome.

She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Luke: "Do you still do performances?"

Laurie: "I haven’t really acted since all this book stuff started. There’s only so much time in a day.

"It’s six o’clock at night here and it feels like midnight. It’s been so gloomy."

Luke: "I love LA with its sunshine. I’d like to live in Israel. I always thought that if I became a successful writer, people would fly me all over the world."

Laurie: "When I did the audition for the Jewish Book Council, I thought they were going to grab me. About 20 people came over to me afterward and said they wanted to have me to their synagogue. And only this Irvine JCC booked me."

Luke: "I wonder if it is the downturn in the economy."

Laurie: "No. This was in July. In fact, two substantial cities came over to me that night and said, ‘You did a great job presenting this but there’s no way we’re going to say the word ‘shiksa’ in our congregation. It’s pejorative.’

"Are you kidding?

"She said, ‘We can’t use those kinds of Yiddish words.’

"I grew up with those Yiddish words. I’m a New Yorker.

"Well, New Yorkers… (phew).

"I was careful in how I dressed. I mentioned in my speech I was an actress.  And as I walked around all night, they said, ‘There’s the shiksa actress!’ I was called that years ago; it started the whole idea.

"One woman actually said to me, ‘This is just too controversial a topic.’

"And in 2008."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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