Hi, and welcome to the portion of our calendar year wherein every day’s either a holiday or a “recovery day” from a holiday. Does it feel a lot like Tuesday? That’s because this week, we had Yom Kippur on Monday (redefining what “a case of the Mondays” feels like–the “Office Space” crew never would have survived a year of holidays on Mondays, because then Tuesdays feel like Mondays and the whole week is off. Just another manic Monday, they’d wish it was Sunday.)
But there’s another way to look at this season…as Jewlicious, the era of Judaitude, or maybe…Jewtopia.
Jewtopia? Isn’t that the name of a hit off-Broadway show that not so long ago closed a huge bidding war for the rights to the book? Good for you, gentle reader, you’re right! Which means you’re paying attention. Which scares me. But seems like it might be cause for a contest…[stay tuned to this post…]
I don’t know when Sam Wolfson and Bryan Fogel (left) managed to do it, but they’ve finished the book, Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, which is a beautiful, full-color, hard-cover book full of the kind of warped, eclectic, Jewishly diverse humor that the duo have become known for. Some of the humor’s a bit subversive, which you may figure out after seeing the cover, which features the two authors using the Hanukkiyah (that’s a Hanukkah menorah) to light cigarettes, which I’m pretty sure is not allowed if we check “Hanerot Halalu.” But if we stop taking every little thing so seriously and allow ourselves to enjoy (tough for our People, I know), there’s enough here to entertain Jews of all stripes.
The book definitely explores its share of stereotypes, but has an oddly-and-impressively accurate historical timeline of Judaism (within a comedy framework of course) and some informative “Jewtoids,” which are not Jew-flavored breathmints, but factoids of a Jewish origin. And of course, since this is Bryan and Sam, whose moms shilled their original play in an advertising campaign (posting their phone numbers in the ad, and inviting people to call them personally), every twenty pages or so, we’re treated to conversations between each of the guys and his respective mother. Bar Mitzvah Disco style, we see in photographs that Bryan and Sam come from different religious styles (Bryan’s bar mitzvah was Orthodox and on Shabbat, so no photos of the actual event occur, while Sam’s was a Hollywood theme).
sexions sections are devoted to the “Jewish Kama Sutra” complete with graphic illustrations, a diagram for how hairy Jewish men can shave themselves (“Manscaping”) and a “Guide to Chasidic Lovemaking” featuring an array of holed sheets (one with a head cutout of Brad Pitt, another with many holes and marked “orgies only”).
And you don’t want to miss the section that provides you with pages from Moses’ Desert Diary. Oh, if only Moshe had blogged…
And all this Jewtopitude can be yours!! All you have to do is correctly answer these Four Questions (of course!), and if you’re one of the first FIVE to do so, you win a free copy, courtesy of the publishing company.
1) How many times have I written articles about Jewtopia? (This includes the play, the book and the movie– not blog posts, just articles. HINT: Look beyond just the Jewish Week…)
2) A few years ago, I had an email correspondence with one of the authors’ mothers, either Linda Fogel or Arlene Wolfson. Which one? (You may not know this, but you have a 50/50 shot.)
3) How did Bryan and Sam find their graphic design team for the book?
4) What book provided the creative inspiration for Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People?
All of these answers can be found via Google except for #2. Good luck!