The JGirl’s Guide: The Young Jew­ish Wom­an’s Hand­book for Com­ing of Age

Pen­i­na Adel­man, Ali Feld­man & Shu­lamit Reinharz
  • Review
By – July 16, 2012
The sub­ti­tle tells it all. This vol­ume address­es teenage girls direct­ly on top­ics such as Jew­ish iden­ti­ty, friend­ship, hon­or­ing par­ents, body image issues, sex­u­al­i­ty, health, gos­sip, social respon­si­bil­i­ty and more. Three authors make for a some­what dis­joint­ed read­ing expe­ri­ence. A very long intro­duc­tion greets read­ers and tells them (repeat­ed­ly) what to expect. The for­mat of each chap­ter, with its many sec­tions, quotes, ques­tions and exer­cis­es, wrings every last drop out of every top­ic. The style of the book is a breath­less­ly excit­ed, ener­getic charge up a moun­tain of infor­ma­tion. The Jew­ish aspect of each top­ic under dis­cus­sion is explained through his­tor­i­cal and mod­ern view­points, with plen­ty of back up from orig­i­nal texts. A con­scious­ly neu­tral point of view embraces all streams of Judaism and lev­els of obser­vance. This book would be an excel­lent resource for youth group lead­ers to use in lead­ing dis­cus­sions or work­shops on teen issues. It may also serve as a guide for par­ents strug­gling to talk with their kids about sen­si­tive top­ics. Self-aware young women may enjoy the navel-gaz­ing qual­i­ty of the book, while oth­ers will find it tire­some. Some kids may be turned off by the attempt of the adult authors to sound cool” by invent­ing the term JGirl.” Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 – 18 where Jew­ish teens are heav­i­ly served.
Hei­di Estrin is librar­i­an for the Feld­man Chil­dren’s Library at Con­gre­ga­tion B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries.

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