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My Lover the Rabbi, My Husband the Doctor: What more could a Jewish girl want? by Cheryl Grady Mercier and Ethel J. David

My Lover the Rabbi, My Husband the Doctor: What more could a Jewish girl want?

by Cheryl Grady Mercier and Ethel J. David

384 pages
Memoir/autobiography—witty, quirky 90-year-old role model for aging with style.

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Category: Autobiography
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About the Book
What started as a modest project to chronicle the life of an active 86-year-old in a few chapters grew into this memoir/oral history. The complications of Ethel J. David’s life during the interview process and her reactions to troubles, setbacks, illnesses and deaths began to equal the interesting history of this “extraordinary ordinary woman.”

Now 90, Ethel J. David is unusual in her level of activity and interest. She lives life with verve, lecturing in anywhere from six to sixteen weight-loss classes a week. She also is a volunteer docent at the Penn Museum, the archeology museum of the University of Pennsylvania, where she gives tours on Africa, ancient Israel and Canaan.

Mercier, like many of the people in David’s classes, was curious about how this woman stayed so active and involved, how she managed a full social, family and working life at her age.

David tells her history which includes meeting famous people—“Golda Meir slept in my bed when she visited Cincinnati.”—dramatic events like watching the KKK burn a cross at a Catholic church in Kentucky, World War II as one of the few Jewish people in Texarkana, and world travel.

During the writing process, David had setbacks at her weight-loss job, worried over miscommunications with—and illnesses of—relatives and friends, and lost sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, her best friend and her lover. Yet she kept active, working and resisted caving in to despair. She devised a plan to keep her job, fought the Philadelphia courts over a parking ticket, and overcame several falls and physical challenges of her own. She even wrote to Oprah, hoping to promote a “Make-Nice Manifesto.”

Told in both David’s and Mercier’s voices, the alternating chapters chronicle David’s history while Mercier observes the present. Both make surprising discoveries about each other and about growing old.



About the Author
Cheryl Grady Mercier and Ethel J. David Ethel J. David, 90-year-old subject/co-writer, is a motivational speaker. Cheryl Grady Mercier’s work appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Stories, Aroostook Review, Drexel On-Line Journal, and an Anchor Books poetry anthology. She has won recognition from’s Quarterly 24-Hour Short Story Contest, the Atlanta Review, and the National Writer’s Association.



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