Monday, May 21, 2012

Oy Vey, Jewish Vampires!

Jewish singles around the world are quite familiar with JDate, the website where they anxiously post their profiles in hopes of meeting their beshert (Yiddish for ‘predetermined soul mate’). When Rhoda Ginsburg, a 41-year-old overweight Jewish divorcee signs up at the site, she never expects that her shidduch (Yiddush for ‘match’) will be with a Jewish rabbi who has been dead for hundreds of years.

“I would like to tell the story of my life,” says Rhoda’s date when they meet up at a bar. “What’s so special about your story?” Rhoda asks, unwilling to make their meeting a professional gig for her writing career. “I’m a vampire,” her date replies matter-of-factly.

A Jewish vampire? Oy, vey izt mir! (‘Oh, woe is me!’).

This is the premise behind the recently published Kindle edition novel, Interview with a Jewish Vampire, by Erica Manfred. Manfred, who openly admits to “always being a vampire fan,” turns the genre on its head with her wry humor, and in the process gives it a huge doze of Yiddishkeit.

You see, her date just happened to have been transformed into a vampire by the evil anti-Semite Count Dracula centuries before. “I didn’t know there were any Jewish vampires,” Rhoda says. Especially a Jewish vampire who is actually a Hasidic rabbi that keeps Kosher and makes sure to daven before settling in his coffin for the sunlight hours.

There are plenty of vampires about in this story and many of them live in Jewish retirement homes in Florida, of all places!

As you learn how Rhoda works to keep her aging mother alive by making her one of the undead, with the help of her vampire partner, you’ll find a smile appearing on your face. Did you know that vampires could fly? Or that reformed vampires attend Bloodaholics Anonymous? If you’ve ever wondered whether Jewish vampires are afraid of crosses, you’ll find this novel bloody good, something to sink your literary teeth into!

Erica Manfred is a freelance journalist, humorous essayist, and author. She’s also authored two non-fiction self-help books, including most recently He’s History You’re Not; Surviving Divorce After Forty. Her articles and essays have appeared in Cosmopolitan, The New York Times Magazine, Ms., New Age Journal, Village Voice, Woman’s Day, SELF, Ladies Home Journal, and many other publications. Erica lives in Woodstock, New York with her Chihuahua, Shadow, and her daughter, Freda. Brought up by Jewish parents who spoke Yiddish but avoided religion, she got her Jewish education at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation which welcomes Jews from all backgrounds, from atheist to Orthodox, to vampire. You can learn more about her on her website.

 This post is part of the CLP Blog Tour for Erica Manfred's book, Interview with a Jewish Vampire.

Read my in-depth interview with Erica Manfred.

Buy Interview with a Jewish Vampire and read it now!