'Grief and Magic: A Conversation on Ritual and Loss' with Merissa Nathan Gerson and Jessica Lanyadoo

Thursday, October 28th 2021, 6:00pm
Online Event, 2400 Ridge Rd Berkeley, CA 94709

Join the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies and The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco in hosting a conversation between author (and CJS alum) Merissa Nathan Gerson and Oakland-based astrologer and podcaster Jessica Lanyadoo about Gerson's new book Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman's Guide to Grieving.

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Book Description: Though at times it may seem impossible, we can heal with help from our friends and community– if we know how to ask. This heartrending, relatable account of one woman’s reckoning with loss is a guide to the world of self-recovery, self-love, and the skills necessary to meeting one's own needs in these times of pain– especially when that pain is suffered alone. 

Grief is all around us. In the world of today it has become common and layered, no longer only an occasional weight. A book needed now more than ever, Forget Prayers, Bring Cake is for people of all ages and orientations dealing with grief of any sort—professional, personal, romantic, familial, or even the sadness of the modern day. This book provides actions to boost self-care and self-worth; it shows when and how to ask for love and attention, and how to provide it for others. It shows that it is okay to define your needs and ask others to share theirs. In a moment in which community, affection, and generosity are needed more than ever, this book is an indispensable road map. 

This book will be a guiding light to a healthier mental state amid these troubled times.


Merissa Nathan Gerson, author of Forget Prayers, Bring Cake: A Single Woman’s Guide to Grieving, is a New Orleans-based writer, professor and sex educator. Her written work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Playboy, and Tablet, among others, and she was the inherited trauma consultant for Amazon’s Emmy Award winning television show, Transparent. She received her MA from the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in 2013.


Jessica Lanyadoo is an astrologer and psychic medium with over 25 years consulting experience. She is author of Astrology for Real Relationships and is the host of the popular Astrology and advice show, Ghost of a Podcast. For her, no topic is taboo or unworthy of kindness. Check out her website at lovelanyadoo.com and follow her on social media (@jessica_lanyadoo) for more of her down to earth wisdom.



This program is co-sponsored by The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

This event is online only