‘I believe in God. It’s been a real problem for me,” Shalom Auslander writes in Foreskin’s Lament, a dark and hilarious new memoir about growing up Orthodox and miserable in upstate New York.
You deleted your manuscript several times out of fear that God would strike down your family. What about now that it’s being published?
When I was writing it for myself, anything could happen and no one would know. Now it’s out there, so if He tries any shit, people are going to know. They’d be like, “Wow, he’s right, that Guy’s a dick.”
Do you resent Reform Jews who can be proud of their heritage without having had to endure the hard stuff?
[Reform Jews] are not necessarily going to burn their porn, as I did, but psychologically they’re doing the same thing.
So why not throw your hat in with Christopher Hitchens and become an atheism advocate?
I guess if you spin religion enough, it’s comforting to think God’s a decent guy. He’s not Archie Bunker, he’s Meathead.
Back to His wrath. Your acknowledgments page is titled “Who to Kill”— people God could strike down in lieu of your immediate family. First in line is your editor, Geoff Kloske. How did he take that?
Well, God’s not necessarily going to go in that order. The mob, they don’t do the big hit right away. Kloske might buy a very pro-God book next year, so God could still have his uses for him. Me, forget it.
By Shalom Auslander, Riverhead; October 4.