A surreal, devastating journey leaves Miranda Portnoy alone with nowhere to turn. Scapegoated by a murderer, betrayed by her lover, and driven to her knees, Portnoy witnesses something astonishing when she turns to the God she doesn’t yet believe in.

Cinder Oy-la! How a Jewish Scapegoat Becomes a Princess reveals Portnoy’s voyage from traumatic American Jewish childhood to landing a choice Orthodox Jewish husband in Jerusalem. In a harrowing yet comical memoir, which brings her by turns into the arms of a Tantric master and face to face with the Divine, double-crossed by Ivy League administrators and encountering less than savory activities at an Orthodox Jewish seminary, Portnoy emerges from it all with faith. In wry, athletic prose wrought by tribulation, Portnoy acquaints her audience with mysticism, healing, and redemption in this extraordinary survivor’s tale.

Making Meaning Out of Madness: A Jewish Journey contains Miranda Portnoy’s memoir plus her appeal to her Jewish peers. In the second section, following her story, Portnoy challenges agnostic assumptions with three well-researched, provocative essays. Taking aim at the spiritual skepticism fostered by contemporary academia, she offers an utterly novel, commonsense proof of classic Jewish principles. One cannot walk away from her essay “Solving the Jewish Mystery” unchanged. This memoir and essay collection is bound to capture the hearts and minds of Jews who have wandered too far from the God who loves them—compelling them, and all of us, to not only reexamine our convictions but perhaps, rediscover our souls.


“A searing tell-all memoir of Jewish tragedy and 
redemption that will keep you reading.”

— Sherri Mandell, author of The Blessing of a Broken Heart

“Reminds us of the indomitable human spirit.”

— Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith, chief editor of Aish.com

“A must-read… a truly inspiring life story.”

— Lori Palatnik, founding director of Momentum

Interested in receiving Miranda's Judaism Q & A essays?