The Schmooze

Author Blog: Mr. Expert on God

Earlier this week, Theodore Ross wrote about the Manhattan eruv and a revision for his paperback. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


One of the strange, but nice, things that come from publishing a book is that people start to take you seriously — with certain exceptions. Largely as a result of my having written “Am I a Jew?” I was invited to teach a class on religious journalism at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. This has been a fun and challenging experience for me as someone with a full time job as an editor of Men’s Journal magazine, a book currently on the shelves, and a third child, who is just a month old.

The students in my class are all bright, ambitious, and sophisticated. They are at the graduate level, which means they can write, understand reporting, and want to engage with the world in a serious way. I find myself humbled to think that they show up once a week to hear me talk about telling stories that involve religion and spirituality. I also find myself pretty impressed with me. NYU! Graduate students! I must be doing something right, no?

Well, there is one group of people in my life not quite as impressed—my family. Each and every one of them—my wife first and foremost—have had the same reaction to learning I would be teaching this class. Religious journalism? Try to hear the tone of incredulity reach across genders and generations from my wife to my mother to my father to my brother and beyond. A big shot! Mr. Expert on God, here.

This is how we keep a head from growing inflated.


Theodore Ross is the author of “Am I a Jew?: Lost Tribes, Lapsed Jews, and One Man’s Search for Himself.” His writing has appeared in the pages (print and electronic) of the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Atlantic, Tablet, Saveur, Tin House, and a variety of other journals and newspapers. He is also the articles editor of Men’s Journal magazine.


The Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the reading, writing and publishing of Jewish literature. For more Jewish literary blog posts, reviews of Jewish books and book club resources, and to learn about awards and conferences, please visit www.jewishbookcouncil.org.

MyJewishLearning.com is the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. Visit My Jewish Learning for thousands of articles on Judaism, Jewish holidays, Jewish history and more.

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