(Apologies if the image isn’t displaying, I’m still a little new at posting pictures…)

Every year (unless you’re a member of my family), you get the same old Rosh Hashanah cards in your mailbox, with apples and honey and shofars and pictures of Israel and wishes for a happy and sweet new year yada, yada, yawn…

(Esther falls asleep…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…what? No, that’s okay, I’m awake…)

But according to a press release I just received, this year, Hillel’s throwing down some New Year’s cards with a new attitude…urging students, to, among other things “Bite This”:

“Bite this” is not a traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting, but tens of thousands of Jewish college students will be offered this edgy message when they arrive at High Holidays services at Hillels this year. Hillel’s Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning has produced more than 140,000 High Holy Day cards that tell students to “Bite This!” (apples and honey, the traditional Rosh Hashanah treat), “Don’t Eat This” (a bagel, or anything else, on Yom Kippur), and “Shake This!” (the lulav of Sukkot).

With their “in-your-face” attitude, the cards aim to go beyond superficial explanations of the High Holidays and help students find new meaning among time-honored traditions.

“Many students are already familiar with the most popular customs, such as eating apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah or fasting on Yom Kippur, but these cards offer additional rituals and perspectives that will be new to many of them,” said Meyerhoff Center Director Clare Goldwater. “We hope the cards will encourage them to learn more and find ways to celebrate that are the most meaningful to them.”

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

51 Comments

  • Dude! That’s so radical and mondo cool! I mean, it’s totally tubular! Cowabunga, Hillel! You’re totally relevant! NOT!

    Further proof that the big Jewish machinery in the US just has no fuckin’ clue. What next, a Tisha B’Av campaign with low stools that say “Sit on it!”?

    I’m sure America’s Jewish college students will indeed find a way to celebrate in the way most meaningful to them. With 5 frat boys whose names they don’t know and four to six lines of pure Colombian.

    Gag me with a spoon, Esther. Gag me with a spoon.

  • They’re trying to be cool that’s all. I applaud new efforts. What do you want more Aish HaTorah Madness? Look how they are recruiting now for businessmen and Entrepenuers, no women of course, for all of their new marketing schemes. Go to Aish.com look at their cool graphics.

  • ALERT!!! ALERT!!! ALERT!!! JOBBER HAS ESCAPED FROM HIS MAXIMUM SECURITY CELL FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE!!

    APPROACH WITH GREAT CAUTION!
    HE IS ARMED AND POSSIBLY DANGEROUS, AND MAD AS HELL THAT THE MOHEL SLIPPED ON HIM, TOO!

    ALERT!! ALERT!! ALERT!!! JOBBER HAS ESCAPED FROM HIS MAXIMUM SECURITY CELL FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE!

    APPROACH WITH CAUTION. HE IS ARMED AND POSSIBLY DANGEROUS, AND MAD AS HELL THAT THE MOHEL SLIPPED ON HIM, TOO!

  • ck’s the teacher? I thought we were all the cool kids in the back of the bus. Now someone’s in charge enforcing rules? I guess our reign of terror is over.

  • I don’t mind an attempt at being “cool” if the marketing campaign is attention getting. There is so much media vying for college kid’s attention today, something had to give. Besides, they have to justify the Director of Marketing’s salary somehow.

    Chabad did a cute Purim Ad that said “Absolut Purim” and had 3 Hamentashen in an Absolut shaped bottle.

    Michael, why so negative on all Jewish American college students? They are tomorrow’s Dr., Lawyers, Investment Bankers and Accountants whether they show up at class or not.

  • No, Chutzpah, their parents were doctors, lawyers, investment bankers and accountants.

    You see, the last generation of American Jews were the ones who firmly cemented their white collar status. Now they’ve got their great jobs, and their children are a bunch of worthless alcoholics and coke fiends who major in Greek life and will, in fact, live out the rest of their lives on daddy’s pay.

    I’m there. I see it. I know. American Jews became too successful. They’re secure and wealthy, but their children have an alarmingly high rate of drug-addled idiocy because they’ve been pampered from day one. If those people become tomorrow’s doctors and lawyers, then America is in deep shit.

  • Sorry, I rather have a a jewish doctor who did some coke and alcohol during college than one who got accepted there in the first place on a minority affirmative action recruitment plan or sports scholorship and can’t read. (Disclaimer: I am aware that this statement may contain some racist bigotry and stereotyping)

    What is the solution for Conservative Jewish Educators? How do we reach them if their spirits and souls are already spoiled by their parents and the media?

  • Hey, look, given my own sometimes colorful collegiate history, it’s not that I have anything per se against alcohol and drug use. But these kids ain’t in med school anyway. They’re business majors or, if they’re girls, philosophy or Spanish majors.

    I’m telling you, American Jewry is sputtering out due to an excess of wealth.

  • You can never be too rich. It’s not from an excess of wealth, but perhaps a absence of work ethic. American Jewry is NOT sputtering out! Didn’t some American-Jewish Organization just help you recently? American Jewish organizations including NON-ORTHO. ones are mobilizing all over the country to help fellow American Katrina survivors. Chesed & Tzedaka is the heart of Judiasm and wealth makes it easier to do both.
    I am so sick of people who preach learning and spirituality over materialism…they are the first ones to ask for money on every occasion.
    I just received an appeal to help post-partum mothers who can’t afford help with their other children. At one time I would have said “oh, that’s awful” and sent a check, now I just put “wwww. plannedparenthood.com ” in the reply envelope.

  • I’m not preaching learning and spirituality, I’m telling you as someone who sees it everyday that once the current generation of wealthy Jewish benefactors dies, American Jewry is toast, because their grandchildren were raised in the lap of luxury and don’t give a shit about their fellow Jews, or anyone really. Maybe Tulane isn’t representative of the broad spectrum of American Jewry, but if the children of wealthy East Coast Jews are anything to judge by, trust me, we’re screwed.

  • And furthermore, all the young American Jews who do care about being Jewish as more than an “ohmigod, I totally went to Jewish summer camp too!” connection seem to move to Israel, at least temporarily, anyway. So if motivated Jews often leave, and unmotivated Jews marry goyim, what’s left other than Brooklyn and Flatbush and Kiryas Yoel?

  • I’m sorry but I don’t like extreme sweeping statements which forcast the demise of American Judiasm. If motivated Jews are leaving to make aliyah that’s GREAT! But there ARE others left that are non-ortho and non-chasidic who will mature and become philanthopy minded, even if it’s just for the tax-deductions. A few of them might not even intermarry! Hey, even JDate is doing a Katrina fundraiser. They may be a little harder to identify but there are refom, reconstructionist, secular, traditional and conservative jewish organizations and are doing good in the world.

  • Anyone heard about AUJS’ (Australasian Union of Jewish Students) latest campaign? To promote Israel on campus here, they’re handing out condoms with a sticker of the AUJS flag (which is the Israeli blue stripes and the letters AUJS)and the following taglines: “ISRAEL: It’s still safe to come” “ISRAEL: You’ll always remember your first time” and “ISRAEL: Standing tall and firm”.

    Big controversy here over it. I think it’s hysterical… what do you reckon?

  • And don’t forget our favorite tagline
    “Israel, if you can’t get laid here, you can’t get laid in a brothel.”

  • Oh, Michael. Once again, I think that there’s a middle ground, which I am a part of: that group who is not sponging off daddy’s millions (or in most cases, thousands), and not spending their lives in drug-addled stupors. We are making a living, even if just barely.

    Would I be a lot more stable if I had gone to law school? Maybe. I’d certainly be able to give more to Jewish philanthropy in this country and abroad. And maybe my choice to follow my career bliss makes me selfish, but right now, it’s where I am. I hope that this choice doesn’t render me irrelevant to contemporary Judaism. Because if it does, then there’s no point in my not intermarrying, which would free me up considerably.

  • Hey, I’m not the one who’s saying money is the key to community continuity. I think working and following career bliss are generally good ideas. As long as you don’t become fantastically wealthy and raise your children stupid.

    So maybe I’m exaggerating a touch. But I think that everyone can agree that American Judaism can expect a nosedive in terms of numbers. It’s already happening. Although unlike the powers that be in the federations, I’m not really shedding tears over it. Sure, it’s sad to lose Jews, but I guess it’s better to lose them to slow attrition, i.e. their own choices, than to, you know, genocide. And the Jewish people always seem to survive somehow. It’s not like assimilation is a new problem.

  • Ugh! ONCE AGAIN JSIRPICCO HAS TO EXPLAIN IT ALL…

    Okay re: demographics: in 30 years all you will have is Cheders and Old Age Homes for the remaining estupido Conservitive Reform Jews who continue to vote Democratic via life support machines….

    Numbers won’t nosedive Michael, cuz, CHAREDIM ARE COMING ON STRONG (Chutzpah! – no pun jokes, please, you horny queen!)

    50% of the Jewish population in this country under age of 8 is chareidi, dudes.

    Federations LIE!!!!! They lie. They take your money and lie lie lie.

    Here’s a tag line: Fight the Power. Be Frum!

    Peace, Out,
    Jsirp Rules!

  • I’m with Esther on the middle ground business.

    There is truth in that this generation of Jews is far more comfortable than previous generations of Jews. As a result, many don’t feel the drive or the hunger to achieve as did their parents who grew up in a different era.

    Having said that, there are plenty of Jewish kids who still achieve very nicely. Harvard’s undergrad population is what, about 20%-25% Jewish? That’s not bad for a group that represents 2% of the population.

    You also have plenty of Dov Charneys out there who shine at business, for example.

    While our friends’ kids are still too young for us to be able to know how they’ll end up, I can assure you that they are all receiving excellent education, plenty of extra-curricular activities, exposure to art, music and sports, and even Jewish activities. Most of these kids will attend fine institutions of higher learning and I’d be surprised if they go the sorority or fraternity route.

    But yes, we have fewer first and second generation kids, and many whose parents have “made it,” will live relatively shallow lives where they don’t create much.

    None of this means they don’t give to Jewish causes. They are just more reluctant, in general, to give to the large Jewish organizations. This has a lot to do with a desire for independence and control over the donations, not necessarily hostility toward Jewish life.

  • That’s my problem. That’s why I care. I’m first generation. Damn.

    I don’t see why this has become about giving to Jewish causes. If giving to Jewish causes was the key to saving the Jewish people, or the key to being somebody really committed to the Jewish people, whether in a religious or secular way, we wouldn’t have to have this conversation. Because there wouldn’t be any problems.

  • So in 30 years we will have 50% of the Jewish population with no marketable job skills and more and more charedis walking the streets in affluent Jewish suburbs ringing the doorbells at dinner time asking for tzedaka? There’s something to look forward to. Remind me to take the mezuzah off the front door of my luxury assisted living condo in Boca in 50 years I don’t want them bothering me. At 91 I will still be smiling when I think of my Sorority Days at Cornell and I hope I’ll be sending my granddaughter a check to pledge Kappa Alpha Theta. Then I’m going for massage at the club house by the hot young hispanic masseuse and the early bird special.

  • this is all anecdotal, but my impression in general is that everyone today knows that one degree is not enough, people realize that you have to make the bucks these days, and this means for the most part advanced college degrees. Immigrants see things differently, and are willing to put a down payment on a gas station, add a convenience store there and work many hours, it’s sorta the same thing. Successful doctors and lawyers do work many hours and are away from their wives and families. I myself, as much as I complain about my low income, I am with my children early in the evenings every night, helping them w/ their homework, making sure Jr. doesn’t throw his baseball bat at his sisters, so in short, one has to find the blessings in every situation.

    I agree that American Jewry will not disappear, and there will be sufficient funds for the institutions that do exists and for the new ones.

  • Hey Chutzpah! just think of all the Oral action you’ll be getting in the Old Age Home…whining about those chareidim who screwed up your screwed up life!

  • Hey Chutzpah, maybe it was different at Cornell, but at Tulane Kappa Alpha Theta is like ohmigod sooooo lame. What kind of self-respecting (and by self-respecting I mean lacking most self-respect) Jewish sorority girl doesn’t join AEPhi?

  • Read the facts dude. Aish is so full of shit, but they attact lowlifes, that is what they are excellent at. These lowlifes, take a break from their messed up selves for 6mo-to a couple of years, but then their true self comes out, after the veneer of the I-found-G-d trip is over.

    Then they shrewdly learn how they, the men, have the power to manipulate the system, to rain death and destruction upon innocent, holy, pure women.

  • That’s interesting coming out of someone who used to post here as “Aish Freak,” “Eesh Aish” and “Ricker Aish.”

  • The Cat house was the “cool girls who like to party” and we had a few types of ethnic backgrounds (vertically integrated culture jamming, as you guys call it) so we could party with all the different frats and not just the two Jewish ones. You don’t believe me Michael, but I’m not a JAP, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • Aish sucks, I was only trying to make a point, theatrically speaking. Anyone who falls for aish is in trouble. They send their lunatic films now to all synagouges, anything to make a buck.

  • Plus – I just gotta do this….

    wavy screen wavy screen wavy screen ~~~~~~

    Ahh….those lazy hazy days of College for Chuztpah…of course it has to be CORNELL…SUICIDE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!!!!

    As we join Chutzpah’s FUTURE BT GIRLS GONE WILD!!!! Relive the days that Chutzpah will wish she could harken back too after 12 years of uptight marriage and no Oral Sex!!!!

    Hey girls, it’s me…Chutzpah…anyone got any spliff hanging around? We’re going to the Black Fraternity Tonight (ROAD TRIPPPPPP!!!!) and I just really want to get the most out of this culturally integrating vertical jamming, ladies!

    *she takes a toke* Ahhhhh…I love college – $15,000 of daddy’s money (yes, that was cost back then…seems like nothing, but it was a lot!)…and I get to lick and kiss and suck….well….let’s not go into details, shall we??????

    *cut to THAT TIME…YES THAT ONE INCREDIBLE TIME WITH THE BASKETBALL PLAYER!!!!****

    hmmmmph…hmmmph…oh yeah, this is SOOOOOOO GOOOOOD….YOU’RE SOOOOOO NOOOOOOOOTTTT JEEEEEWWWWWIIISSHHHHH……I’LLL UH UH UH REMEMBER THIS……FOREVVVVVVVVVVVV……

    Hey, white, chick…just like, can you NOT TALK for ONE MINUTE>>>>>>Hey…I haves an idea for yous…..

    Taste This White Girl! Smart Jewish White Girl…Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh”

    wavy screen wavy screeen wavy screeen wavy screeennn~~~~~~~

    CHUTZPAH! WHAT ARE YOU DOIN UP THERE!!!! IT’S MOM. I’M HERE FOR SHABBOS….GET OF JDATE ALREADY…OH, AND STOP LOOKING FOR GUYS HALF YOUR AGE…. YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN INTO ALL THIS “RELIGION STUFF…” OY VEY…

    DON’T YOU REMEMBER HOW PROMISING EVERYTHING WAS AT CORNELL?????

    You used your time so well then…ugh…such potential…..gutinyu!

  • Years later, Michael would release his tell-all autobiography, “How Jewish Blogging Turned Me Into a Raging Anti-Semite.”

  • Aish pays their what we would call, branch managers, over 300K per year. The whole thing reeks. Authentic Judaism is simple things, helping a bunch of people.

    The use the cynical approach, this is true of most of the so called new Jewish bloggers. The idea is to have an edge, is edge good ? It just is the approach. Everyone wants to promote their particular sub culture.
    We should be focusing now on non-cynical, we should promote the High Holidays now as outside the scope of these hillarious threads we have here on JL.
    I put that goal out to each and every cantankerous semi loaded Jewlicious contributor.
    I am certainly going to make this concious effort,
    Shavuah Tov,
    Jobber

  • Oy. I’ve stepped away for a while & missed this whole fun thread (been busy quittin’ my job & enjoying the freelance writing life. Mmmmm… mac & cheese for dinner again?)

    Hillel marketing: nice try; Chabad beat you to it with their slick, sometimes funny tongue-firmly-in-cheek holiday guides. Everything else is just an imitation. Except for Aish. Aish is just plain weird. Bite that.

    Michael- anyone who finds themself with an excess of Jewish money should get in touch with me asap, ’cause I’m running a little low on this cultural entitlement. Quick, someone make me jaded with ridiculous wealth so I can fund a dayschool and alleviate the guilt I’ll feel for being so well-off! It’s worth a try, right?

    Chutzpah- thanks for… well, being you. It takes the pressure off me. I never did the sorority thang, Brandeis didn’t allow ’em back in my old “livin’ large off the parents’ wealth” phase (actually, it was my grandfather with the $$$ that funded my stay at SUNY Waltham).

    Esther- how many times do I have to say this?: intermarriage is the last saving grace of American Jews. To quote my non-MOT (for a couple more weeks, at least) husband, “Judaism is too important to be left to the Jews”. And he’s right. I just hope he calms down a little once he converts. I get tired of having to discuss Rashi at every meal…

  • Hey Judi – If you marry a sheigitz, hoping he’ll be a Jew and then he becomes a Jew, don’t blame him for becoming the thing YOU DIDN”T WANT IN THE FIRST PLACE…

    Hey Jobber…$300 K I’ll Take That! What’s wrong with getting paid good money in this country? Sounds like a good rap to me… helping people (relax people, I’m jus’ sayin’ for arguments sake, kay?) and getting paid for it?

    What’s missing from this equation? Oh…no we should all be poor and miserable and blame God for our miserable lives…hey that’s fun!

    Chuztpah can’t be reached right now…I heard she’s hanging at the PX tonight….hoping for a big, mean, lean cruel sheigitz of her own to get downright nasty with her…right chutz?

  • Yes well when they are asking for donations to save Jews, when in reality it is to support a lavish lifestyle, it’s all too phony can’t you see that? You’ll take that, they wouldn’t let you clean the bathrooms there.

    Which post did the genius glean that I am blaming G-d? Miserable, at time, like most people, yes.
    Do you think I chose this economy of insanity that has taken over in the USA? Did I chose to have my jobs sent to freakin India, Mr. Sipoici? And to have a stupid American people support all manufacturing to take place in China, so how do they put it, those peoples standard of living will rise and this will help us all? I have opportunites Sipoci and one of them will happen in a big way very soon, so you are like left in the barn as far as I am concerned, and I just booked a trip to the Holy Land, so you can take another 4 week hiatus from this place afaiac. U bring nothing but debilitating bs to all of the threads.

  • Hi Judy,
    I didn’t have to worry much about money in school thanks to my parents and grandparents but I also took student loans and always worked part-time. (Friendly’s etc.). I went to school with Johnsons (as in Johnson & Johnson) and Busches (as in Anheiser) and they were equally obnoxious as any JAP. It’s the Jewish way to spoil and pamper our children to the best of our ability, as long as we also teach them the values of tzedaka and working hard. My parents helped me again during the divorce and continue to do so. My ex (?) soldier is Jewish and paid for his college education by signing up for the Reserves, now don’t get me started on people who take student loans for Kollel….

  • You got me thinking, Chutzpah- ROTC for kollel? Just don’t give ’em anything they can use to hurt themselves…

    jsirp- thanks for the insta-analysis. But you’re wrong. I’m very happy with my shaigetz-turned-Jew (almost) and extremely proud. He’s a good man & has already made some great contributions- among them, 3 dayschool-educated kids. Try that with a random Jew-Jew couple.

  • Um, I’m an American Jewish college student…pretty sure my parents aren’t drowning in wealth. Pretty sure they’re unemployed and have been for a while. I’m supporting myself. So chill on the blanket stereotypes, k?

    Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to make a greeting card a little funnier. A greeting card won’t bring on moshiach, but it is a greeting card.

    It’s amazing how the most minute stuff posted on here automatically turns into a mudslinging war between MO’s vs. charedim vs. liberals…can we stop arguing about who is/isn’t going to dissappear? Assimilation is an individual’s choice.

    You want to save Judaism? Lead by example, and stop yelling. When you yell, people stop listening.

    Play nice please.

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