Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe

Overview

It's never been hipper to be Jewish." —VH1

Cool Jew does for gefilte fish and matzah balls what the Preppy Handbook did for plaid and polo-only with much more chutzpah.

Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe by Lisa Alcalay Klug delivers the kosher response to The Preppy Handbook. —Publishers Weekly

Cool Jew covers everything Hebraic from womb to tomb, finally putting an end to Christmas ...

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Overview

It's never been hipper to be Jewish." —VH1

Cool Jew does for gefilte fish and matzah balls what the Preppy Handbook did for plaid and polo-only with much more chutzpah.

Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe by Lisa Alcalay Klug delivers the kosher response to The Preppy Handbook. —Publishers Weekly

Cool Jew covers everything Hebraic from womb to tomb, finally putting an end to Christmas tree envy. Short essays, lists, instructional guides, photographs, and original illustrations celebrate Jewish cultural pride with love, enthusiasm, and irreverence.

Entries ranging from "Heebonics for the Yiddish Impaired" to "Self-Help for the Christmas Carole Intolerant" provide the long-awaited Jewish response to that WASP manual of the '80s, The Preppy Handbook.

In addition to cultural hilarity, Cool Jew features resourceful back-of-the-book material, including "People of Da Book" (authoritative texts on Jewish concepts and culture), the "Heebster Jewke Box" (tunes that rock the Heebster vibe), and the "Tribe Online" (an extensive listing of Jewish Web resources).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780740771132
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 996,157
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Award-winning journalist Lisa Alcalay Klug has reported for the New York Times, Forward, Jerusalem Post, Associated Press, JTA, Los Angeles Times and Israel Broadcast Authority TV, among many other outlets. Her bestselling book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, was a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist. A humorist, slam poet, and popular public speaker, Lisa has presented at more than 100 venues throughout North America, Europe and Israel. www.lisaklug.com <http://www.lisaklug.com/

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Tries hard to be hip and cool, but mostly comes across as annoying

    Although meant to be a hip and humorous guide to modern Judaism, Lisa Alcalay Klug's Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe requires forty years of patience to schlep through. The book is packed with what is meant to be cute little "yiddish-isms" that get tiresome very early on: shnooked, shtickl, sh'mantra... How many words starting with "sh" can you possibly fit into one book? The author herself states at one point that the "sh" words can go "...on and on without end!" It certainly seemed that way.

    Klug's writing style is sprinkled with awkward phrases that I can only guess are attempts at sounding hip and/or cute. Here's an excerpt from the first page of the first chapter:

    "...as a Heebster, you don't just survive, you thrive! Being Jewish is about much more than bagels and loxy. It's about moxie, about feeling Yiddishe foxy! Because when you're of Da Tribe, you've got Da Vibe. It's not about deprivation. It's about celebration, exclamation and exaltation! When you embrace Da Place, you're blessed with grace. So let go of the pain. You're a link in the chain. Shun shame and embrace fame. Take charge and live large."

    If you thought the above excerpt was clever, then you should definitely check out this book. However, if you groaned when you read it, like I did, then you'll have a tough time getting all the way through the guide. By the time I was done with this book, I was glad to leave all the "kabba lah lahs," "oyPods" and "Mani's" behind.

    Another big problem with this book is that it is not very accessible to outsiders. I'm Jewish and attended religious school for over a decade and there were many jokes in "Cool Jew" that went over my head. I imagine non-Jewish readers will be quickly phased by all the inside jokes.

    The book is packed with quizzes that force you to turn the book upside down to find the answers. With a quiz appearing every third page or so, I was quickly tempted to start skipping the quizzes because I was tired of constantly flipping the book. It's a shame, really, because the most interesting info about modern Judaism was located in the quizzes (such as different classic Jewish dishes and Yiddish words).

    Not everything about this book was annoying. In between silly rap songs and overly-cutesy turns of phrase in modern Yiddish, occasional nuggets of interesting information shined through. For example, the descriptions of G-d and Birthmarks in the unfortunately titled Kabba Lah Lah chapter. And the descriptions of many Jewish dishes. And the multitude of Jewish-themed websites that I had no idea existed. It's too bad a lot of the good stuff was buried beneath writing that tried too hard to be funny in a way that few will get.

    And this might just be a personal peeve, but I was hoping for more information about the less mainstream Jews. Perhaps 80%-90% of the book was focused on Ashkenazi and Hasidic habits, dishes, customs, etc. There was mention of Shephardic Jews, but hardly any information about what differentiates them from the other groups. Bukharian Jews, of which there might be more than 50,000 living in the USA (concentrated mostly in Queens, NY) only get a mention about having a unique yarmulke and language...

    [Due to BN.com's character limit, the rest of this review can be found at FingerFlow.com]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2008

    Can't live without it!

    I'm thrilled that there is finally a book to set the record straight! For Jews and non-Jews, it's now clear it's cool to be a Jew. Between the wisdom of the Kluggerebbie, the footnotes of 'For the Yiddish impaired', and the 'how to' diagrams and charts, this book will keep you moving, grovin', learning and laughing! I finally understand the fiz of an egg cream, the depth of 'Hava Nagilah,' and the multi-faceted bouquet of Manischewitz. Maybe now the goyim will understand that we're not so ferkakht or ferdreydt, we're just Jews!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    In-your-face-funny

    When you¿re in love, everything is Jewish. This hip, comprehensive, in-your-face-funny guide to the crazy world of Jewish observance/Jewish identification for both the initiated and the newbies among us provides a window onto a world not all of us have had the chance to experience. It¿s irreverent, creative and right on target, and is worth having on your bookshelf to laugh over with friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    This is some serious shtick.

    This book is so filled with information about the Jewish people, it¿s ridonkulous 'that means really ridiculous'. It¿s so deeply Jewish, it might just be over your head. You almost have to let it sink in, like butter on hot challah. There is not a more poignant guide relating Judaism to modern culture out there. This book is on the front lines of the now emerging Heebster culture. It makes me feel proud to be Jewish and shows me the wide array of Jewish ideas, customs and culture that I did not yet even know about. This book should be a staple in any Jewish home and for anybody who wants to understand more about Jews from a light-hearted perspective. Just because it¿s light hearted and it¿s a joke book, doesn¿t mean it¿s not serious. This is some serious shtick!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2008

    a modern-day rashi!

    Cool Jews is exactly that - an affirmation that being an authentic Jew today is very cool, and hard to contain in a stodgy academic essay. Klug has managed to provide serious substance in an incredible new medium. Reading and playing with this book feels like a visit to the right kind of cosmopolitan center where everything-Jewish meets everything-else-Jewish, where the reader is in dialogue both with history and with self. There are even moments in which the Divine might be peeking out both from the pages and from the reader's eyes, wide open in laughter, relfection and curiosity. Klug is a modern-day Rashi, translating ancient Heebster wisdom for tomorrow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    Super Heebster fun

    L-U-V it like a super fresh latke. This book rocks the Jewniverse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2008

    Great little mixtape

    A quirky mixtape collage of things that are cool and Jewish -- some funny, some informative, and some that you'd never hear anywhere else. The real joy of the book, I think, is that there's all this stuff, from Jewish bands to Jewish rabbis, that's awesome but exists in its own little tucked-away worlds...until now, I guess. Fave parts: mystical history lessons, the Jewish holiday guide, and the drinking game where you have to pick out whether a lyric comes from Marley or Matisyahu.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2008

    A reviewer

    Loved it! I have been wanting a book like this to share with my friends for a long time. Lots of great laughs. So right on with the times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    Better than gefilte fish----with an extra carrot!

    Very funny. Kooky and incisive at the same time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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