Focus: Rumson-Raised ‘Punk Rock Queen of the Jews’ Rossi’s Homecoming

Who says you can’t go home again?

Oh, it’s been said, but clearly not by anyone who ever knew the RFH grad and famed raging skillet full of chef, author, playwright and punk rock queen of the Jews known as Rossi. Yes, that’s a mouthful of matzo ball soup with a little “L’Chaim!” on the side.

Rossi came home to a River Road Books reading, signing and, most of all, gathering of friends, fans and even strangers Thursday night to celebrate the launch of her second memoir, Punk Rock Queen of the Jews — her story of inspiration about the triumph jewels in a tough teen journey with Chasids through Crown Heights, Brooklyn. And, as usual, Fair Haven embraced her and all of her authenticity, talent and a-typical homegrown charm with a heaping helping of sweet and savory hugs. The first memoir? That was The Raging Skillet.

Yes, there’s always room on that plate for more shiny morsels from this terminally rockin’ rock-like-a-diamond star … memoirs, plays, friendships, reunions, food … And an overflow is just fine. In fact, it’s her status quo. Those who know Rossi, and even those who’ve just met her, know that her plate is never too full. Never has been. There’s always room for more real food for thought and creation.

Her plate knows no bounds or scraps. She’s always been hungry and resourceful enough to make more of everything it takes to live her dream, and then some, since she first burst onto the not-ready-for-Rossi-prime-time classroom at RFH. No fear of full for her.

Since she, full of fervor and her own brand of “a lot,” scared the bejesus out of that first French class she burst into, outcast changed to in-crowd for her down the street at The Barn Theater. And the plate filling began. It was at RFH, though, where she first endeared herself to the gaspingly charmed, but more sedate, theatrical Rumson girl who took her to The Barn and became her forever friend — Jeni Weber, who introduced Rossi on Thursday.

Burst is the operative word. Nothing about Rossi just saunters. She also burst onto the reserved scene at the Rumson Weber household with a punkish smile and her new bud — to the horror of a very Rumson mom named LaVanche.

That mom, decades later, at 97 years of age, was there on Thursday to bring it all home with Rossi and friends. Her Rumson-meets-rocker lesson learned was told to her daughter for all to hear — proof that it’s never too late to learn.

“I’ve grown over the years as a person, and my reward is getting to know how wonderful and beautiful your friends have always been.”

So, yes, you can go home again, especially if you’re Slovah Davida Shana bas Hannah Rachel Ross. Rossi! Full unbroken circle. See?

Take a look at the photos below for a glimpse into the “home again” moments. Be sure to click on one to enlarge and scroll! And, yes, the stunning lady in lavender smiling with Rossi is that Rumson mom with the wisdom, LaVanche. Yes, that’s what 97 looks like!

A P.S. from Rossi: Her memoir, The Punk Rock Queen of the Jews is on sale pretty much everywhere, including Amazon; but, please patronize local book stores like River Road Books. “I like to make sure I support independent book stores, so I always have readings and sell my books at them.” And, full disclosure, yes, she’s a friend.