Magazine article Tikkun

Yom Kippur a Go-Go

Magazine article Tikkun

Yom Kippur a Go-Go

Article excerpt

* Yom Kippura Go-Go, by Matthue Roth. Cleis Press, 2005

Matthue Roth is a San Francisco-based literary wunderkind. He's also an Orthodox Jew who spends more time in lesbian bars than he does with yeshiva bochers. Yom Kippur a GoGo recounts the start of Roth's literary career and his search for a Jewish, punkrock soul mate.

Roth wants to wed tradition to the avant-garde, which is nothing new-we've seen it in the pages of Heeb and in countless CDs from John Zorn's Tzadik label-but Roth's humor, quirky descriptions, and idiosyncratic characters make the reader feel lucky to be invited to the party. Yom Kippur a Go-Go also raises an important question: is it possible to reconcile the demands of tradition with a wild and radically accepting lifestyle?

The tension between these two informs Roth's story. He struggles with the fear that he'll never meet someone both alienated and devout, with the loneliness of keeping Shabbat while his friends go out clubbing, and with the decision of whether or not to be shomer negiah (to refrain from physical contact with women outside of marriage). …

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