I love last year's AMC breakout hit show MadMen. Love it. And part of what it's shocked me with is the incredible anti-semitism that was present in the ad industry not fifty years ago - a fact highlighted by a recent, awful New Zealand billboard headline for the show: "Advertising Agency Seeks: Clients. All business considered, even from Jews." The billboard was pulled (rightfully so). But it got me thinking how prevalent anti-semitism still is today, the world over. Even right here in the U.S., where a presidential candidate's stance on Israel is considered a major policy point. What's up with that? Religion aside, the Jewish culture is pretty frickin' fantastic and has made humanity-shaping contributions globally. Here are just a few (granted some are pointed and glib, but still true) reasons why the world has benefited from and continues to prosper from being Jewlicious.
5. We're Original
Jew chic is a new phenomenon. Long, long, long before Ashton Kutcher claimed Moses was his homeboy and Madonna discovered kaballah, being Jewish got you cast into slavery, thrown to the lions, persecuted out of country after country. But now some people are starting to realize that we're actually an original and unique people. Think of it. The first to embrace our Lord. We established Western law when we brought the Ten Commandments down from on high. We wrote the Old Testament. Not a bad resume, and this was all before we even realized it might be okay to eat bacon and have a glass of milk with our meat (thank you Reformers!).
4. We're Party People
For all the solemnity of Judaic studies...for all the guilt and work and questioning that comes with the Jewish faith, we know how to get down with the get down. The Hora (the dance at weddings where you lift the bride and groom up on chairs)...yeah, that's all us. Wine? We love that stuff. Holidays? Hunker down with 8 crazy nights of Hanukkah. Ever heard of Purim? The treats and sweets could challenge Easter any day of the week and twice on Sunday. To slightly twist the immortal Gordon Gecko, geld is good.
3. We're Tasty
Like the Italians, we love to eat. And our mothers are the first to remind us we have to do it (bubie, you look thin! eat something, will you?). Plus, kosher food is the bomb. Latkes. Matzoh ball soup (in cracker form, Matzoh could double as dry wall). Pastrami and corned beef. Kosher pickles. I could go on at great length, but I might eat my arm accidentally while thinking of all the deliciousness. Then again, if I washed it down with a Doc Brown's cherry soda, it might all be okay in the end.
2. We're Funny
This is a brash and bold generalization...but Jews are consistently the best comics/comic writers of the last century. Don't believe me? Here's a very short laundry list of varying abilities and time periods to show the depth and breadth: Groucho Marx and The Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Seth Rogen. There are zillions of theories as to why comedy has come to us like the Lord in the burning bush. Some feel it has to do with #1 on this list...
1. We're Resilient
After thousands of years of persecution, the Jewish culture, the Jewish religion (in various forms) and the Jewish people continue to thrive. No matter what atrocities have befallen us as we've been pushed from place to place, had authority given and stripped from us, we've persevered - and succeeded. Some attribute the "Jewish sense of humor" to our ability to cope. Regardless, somehow we've made it. I apologize for the Israeli flag as the image for this point - Israel doesn't reflect the views or represent the totality of Jewish culture or people. But as a nation that is daily contested and threatened, the flag has become a symbol of strength and resolve. Whether you agree with Israel's politics or not, you simply can't dispute that the spirit of survival and dignity carries on. It's sad that the fight for acceptance and understanding continues...but the world is a much better place because it is Jewlicious.