New book: A Kosher Dating Odyssey: One Former Texas Baptist’s Quest for a Naughty & Nice Jewish Girl, by Van Wallach ’80 (Coffeetown Press)
The author: A native of Mission, Texas, Van Wallach is a journalist living in Connecticut whose work has appeared in Advertising Age, The New York Post, Newsday, and The Hollywood Reporter. A PAW contributor since 1993, Wallach says that his memoir, A Kosher Dating Odyssey, was inspired in part by his 2004 PAW essay, “Technology drives the heart afield.”
The book: Raised a Southern Baptist, Wallach slowly began to question his beliefs and was drawn to his parents’ Jewish heritage and later to the women who embodied it. In this humorous memoir that explores the search for faith and love, he looks at the challenges of dating as an ex-Baptist Jewish intellectual single man.
Opening lines: “I wear a chai — the Jewish letter symbolizing life — around my neck. I’ve studied Hebrew and Yiddish and have visited Israel. I subscribe to Jewish newspapers. … Reading my religious résumé, you would never guess that I began my spiritual journey as a New Testament-reading, hell-fearing member of the First Baptist Church of Mission, Texas. How the heck, so to speak, did that happen? And how did I return to Judaism, which decades later led me to the whirling world of Jewish online dating?”
Review: “With the perfect mixture of self-deprecating humor and introspection, Wallach describes, both via anecdotes and in a more extended narrative, his experiences in the world of online dating,” wrote ForeWord Reviews. “He joined several Jewish dating websites and made thousands of connections. Distance was not a factor; he traveled as far as Brazil to make a potential love match. … After countless dates and thousands of dollars spent, the author ultimately discovers that love can’t be reduced to a formula.”
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