Shalom Life | September 16, 2014

Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Yael Goldstein Love

Day 14 features novelist and short story author, Yael Goldstein Love.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: April 25th, 2011 in Culture » Books » Interviews

Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Yael Goldstein Love

Over the next 20 days, ShalomLife will be presenting the Top 20 Jews In The Arts. One artist will be featured a day from various disciplines including visual arts, acting, writing, comedy and music.

We sent the participating artists the same 30 questions with instructions to answer all, or just a few. Have fun learning about these fascinating individuals, and please check back daily to compare their answers. Enjoy!

Yael Goldstein Love

Yael Goldstein Love was born and raised in Highland Park, NJ, and attended the Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva. The final tweaks to her education came at Harvard, where she ignored her grandmother's many warnings and studied philosophy.

After graduating college, Yael began work on her first novel and supported herself with jobs as a bartender, waitress, secretary, event planner, writer for Sparknotes Study Guides, admissions consultant and publishing assistant for The Paris Review.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including Commentary, The Atlantic Online, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Literary Review, Jewcy and in the two National Jewish Book Award-winning anthologies Who We Are: On Being (And Not Being) A Jewish American Writer and Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging. She is also the author of one novel with two names, Overture (Doubleday, 2007) and The Passion of Tasha Darsky (Broadway Books, 2008). In 2010 she was named by Jewcy magazine as one of the “100 Jews You Should Know About.”

Yael currently lives in San Francisco, where she is a visiting scholar at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford. She is at work on her second novel and studying to become a psychotherapist. Her hobbies include eating, worrying and interstate moves. You can visit her at

Where do you go when your lacking inspiration?

To my computer. If I waited for inspiration to strike, I’d never get anything done. Plus, I’ve noticed over the years that the writing I produce when I am feeling most “inspired” tends to be my worst. I’m too accepting of what comes out of my brain unedited.

Where's your favourite place to travel to?

I hate to travel. I realize that to most people saying you hate to travel is like saying you hate happiness, but I am all for happiness. I just prefer to get my happiness at home.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.

I have a magnificent tuxedo cat who lives with my ex on the other side of the country. I miss him desperately. I look at pictures of him on Facebook almost every day. Everyone should. He deserves a wider audience.

Who, in your opinion, is the most beautiful person on earth?

My mother. I’m still that kid.

Are you religious? Spiritual? Nothing at all?

I was raised Orthodox and left that lifestyle behind at the first opportunity. Now I guess I’d say I’m an agnostic with a strong hunch that God doesn’t exist, but sometimes when I’m walking outside on a nice day or sitting and reading a great book or just looking at someone I love I feel blasted with gratefulness and joy, and I thank someone in those moments without bothering to wonder who or what it is I’m thanking.

What's your favourite movie?

The Double Life of Veronique.

TV Show?

Veronica Mars.


Too hard.

If you weren't working in the arts, what would you be doing?

I’m currently training to be a psychotherapist, so I guess if I weren’t a writer I’d be devoting more time to that. I also have a fantasy about becoming a police detective. A few years ago, when I was living in Boston, I actually looked into applying to be a cadet but it turned out I was too old. I was only 30! That was a bummer, but probably a good thing in retrospect. I don’t cut a very intimidating figure, even with a gun. Also, I’m a coward.

Can you offer a piece of advice to aspiring artists?

If it doesn’t feel like play, it isn’t worth it.

Who's your best friend?

I have three: my mother, my sister and my boyfriend. It’s kind of obscene how great they all are.

What's your biggest regret?

Wasting as much time as I do worrying about whether I am any good at what I do. I spend about a third of every writing day talking myself into writing. This is not an efficient use of time.

Do you play any sports?

No. I am terrible at all sports. Unless skiing counts as a sport. I’m good at skiing.

What are you better at than most other people you know?

Misunderstanding the lyrics to songs. I’d also probably be the world’s greatest police detective if only the Boston Police Academy had let me in.

What is your biggest weakness?

Sleep. I would sleep 12 hours a night if I let myself. I love to sleep. I giggle maniacally when I get in bed at night.

Do you have any vices?


Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to hear.

Part of me actually believes my answer to “What are you better at than most other people you know?”

Where is your primary residence? Do you consider this place "home"?

San Francisco. When I moved here a year and a half ago I hated the place violently. Everyone was always bragging about the amazing hikes they had taken over the weekend. But then I started hiking, and now I’m one of those people I hated and it feels great. I’m trying to figure out how to get the rest of my family to move here.

Who's your favourite author?

Tie: Henry James and Matt Taibbi.

Do you watch reality TV?

I generally don’t enjoy reality TV, but I have a weakness for Jersey Shore.

Do you prefer road trips or flying?

I’ve changed this answer three times now. I honestly don’t know.

What one word would you use to describe yourself?


What item do you never leave your house without?

A pen.

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