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Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe Paperback – August 1, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Heebsters take over Jewish New Year, not to mention New York. --New York Daily News

Review

Cool Jew picks up where the do-it-yourself Jewish Catalog series left off.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0740771132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0740771132
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
Upon first glance, "Cool Jew" may seem to you like a humorous parody for entertainment purposes. And, you'd be right. However, amongst the cheeky writing and amusing games, there happens to also be a lot of handy and educational information. For example, there are sections outlining each major Judaica item, such as the Kiddush cup and the Chanukah menorah. Also, you can find a detailed description of traditional foods associated with each Jewish holiday (because food is after all, very important in Judaism!) and explanations of the various head coverings worn for men and women. Look out for interesting historical information and tidbits on famous Jews, as well.

The humor does range from the witty to the outrageous! There are definitely sections of the book that have the potential to offend the more devout among us but that is exactly why a lot of the content shouldn't be taken too seriously. It is all in good fun and Klug, being a proud member of the Jewish faith herself, would not intentionally insult anyone. Some ideas however, may not be for the faint of heart, such as the idea to take yarmulkes/kippas (Jewish head covering) and "sew leather shoelaces on a matching leather pair to create a sexy string bikini top". Talk about risqué religious humor!

Funny highlights include:
-Letterman-like Top Ten lists
-`Recycle, Reuse, Reschmooze' sections that offer other uses for common Jewish objects
-`FYI for the Yiddish impaired'

Other great features are the hilarious and sometimes wacky drawings, photographs and comics located throughout the book.

On the cover of the book is says that the book is not just for Jews, which is absolutely true.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe
I bought the book for myself as a pre-Hanukkah present. It is a great read and worth twice what you charge for it. (OK, maybe only 50% more). Ms. Klug's style is light and fun, but presents lots of info in a realtively small space. (And yes, it was Eva not Zsa Zsa, who was in Green Acres - but since they were sisters, what difference does it make? And Werner Klemperer's father was Jewish, so by moden Jewish paternal lineage, he was definitely a M.O.T.).
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Format: Paperback
This book encapsulates everything I love about being Jewish in astonishing and side-splittingly hilarious detail. No other book of Jewish humor is as hip, contemporary or exhaustive. I am SERIOUSLY buying this for everyone on my hanukkah list -- it would also make an ideal (although certainly irreverent) bar and bat mitzvah gift. I LOVE THIS BOOK!
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