Friday, July 23, 2004

Jewish Coolish

Interesting piece in L.A.'s Jewish Journal, courtesy of RY of Jewschool, (who, for some reason didn't like it) about the "new" "Cool" Jewish & "Cool Jews". 
My take (as is the articles) is that if your worldview is based upon pop culture references, music, movies, even they are all Jewish, you are pretty superficial & the Judaism produced from that worldview will, no doubt, be also superficial.  But the article didn't have to say that; it could have done straight reporting.  Also, since their contemporaries are living American Pop Culture lives, having a Pop-Culture Judaism is not so harmful.  It's also a reflection of how Jewishness is so different than an ethnicity like being black, Asian, or Evangelical.

I think that there are strong parallels between Yiddish culture & Jewish Coolish culture, in that they are both manifestations of my third model of Jewishness.  Which does answer some of the questions about the relationship between Jewish Peoplehood & Jewish Culture which the article posed.  Will Jewish Culturehood lead to Jewish Peoplehood (i.e. Bnei Brith, Zionism, Federations, etc.)?  My guess is probably not.  But as much as Yiddish Culture had an interesting relationship with Jewish Peoplehood, so too Jewish Coolish has & will have a complex relationship with Jewish Peoplehood.

The question remaining is what will be produced out of all this Jewish Cool-ish stuff?  I think that someone should compare it to the early 20th Century Yiddish Culture movement.  However, much of the Yiddish Culture was rooted in a very knowledgable Judaism & produced by Jewishly literate Jews; the same cannot be said for Jewish Cool-ish.

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