Lisa Alcalay Klug has been up and down the country recently pimping her latest work: Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide For Every Member of the Tribe. The book has received mixed reviews (of course) with the penultimate manifestations of cool Jewyness, like Jewcy and Heeb, predictably roasting it. Sometimes it just sucks to look at the mirror I guess… but seriously, the notion of Judaism as being “cool” is ridiculous. The aforementioned post on Jewcy was titled “Hip-Hop Heeb Jumps the Shark.” For those of you that don’t understand the reference, Jumping the Shark is from an episode of 70s sitcom Happy Days. At the time it was mad popular and the leading character, the Fonz, played by Henry Winkler, had a signature thing he did – he would go “Eeeeeeh!” while holding up two thumbs. The “cool” kids in school would of course mimic this and that was considered cool. Of course now I would pay good money to see a video of a 12 year old Aryeh C_ or Eli P_ doing that on YouTube. But I digress.
As the popularity of Happy Days began to wane, the producers came up with the idea of having a two part episode where the Fonz would jump over a live man-eating shark, Evel Knievel style, but on waterskis. The build up to the show was tremendous but the episodes themselves were disappointing. Hence was born the term “Jumping the Shark” – signifying the end of popularity or relevance.
I think it’s safe to say, or at least one can always hope, that the trendy manifestations of the cool Jew movement, like the coolness of the Fonz, will eventually pass. What is sure to persevere however, is the enduring coolness of Judaism – think Clint Eastwood in “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” The Cool Jew Book straddles the fence between these two, offering up an equal measures of kitschy, modern manifestations of Jewyness alongside more substantive Judaism. Like I said, Klug effectively holds up a mirror to an entire generation of young Jews. Some might not like the reflection that they see, but heck – the book’s a great joke – and the joke is on us!
Anyhow… Klug’s running a promo where she’s giving away one autographed copy of the book for every night of Chanukah. You can read the details on her book’s blog. Lisa has also decided to give away a copy of the book on December 25th, as a kind of Chrismukkah gift I guess, to a lucky Jewlicious reader. All you have to do to enter is to join the Jewlicious Facebook group where on Christmas morning, a lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive their awesomely cool Jew prize! Thanks Lisa Klug! Thanks Hanukkah Harry!