December 10, 2003



Time Out New York has a cover story this week (not online) on "The New SuperJews." Featuring actor Adam Goldberg of the new "Jewsploitation" movie "The Hebrew Hammer" on the cover (they picked the wrong Goldberg!), the piece examines the new Jewish hipsterism, as exemplified by Heeb Magazine, the rapper 50 Shekel, and various other hip hop/klezmer hybrid projects going on in the city lately.
I come at this whole thing with mixed feelings. While it's certainly refreshing to see young Jews taking pride in their identities, I can't help but find this whole movement a tad artificial. These people are clearly hipsters first and Jews second, and virtually all of the iconography seems like carefully combined hybrids of inoffensive but annoying Jewish stereotypes (overuse of the word "oy", for one) and '70s blaxploitation culture, sometimes modified to hip-hop. None of this feels the slightest bit authentic, nor does it have much connection to actual Judaism- two problems not shared by the nascent independent minyan movement.
Also, this is very much an only-in-New-York phenomenon, and hasn't touched most American Jews, or even most young American Jews. And with the War on Terror and Intefada going on, along with widespread international anti-Semitism, Heeb & Co.'s lefty, not-so-pro-Israel message comes across as more than a little incongruous, especially if they claim to speaking as "the new Jews."
Still though, that Jenn Bleyer is pretty cute. And 50 Shekel is a riot. And I do want to check out that "Hebrew Hammer" movie…

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 10, 2003 01:06 PM
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