You can learn some really fascinating things when interviewing celebrities, comedians and New York media types about their Judaism. Holy Dazed, our series that combines these interviews into humorous vignettes, was just supposed to be funny, but it ended up revealing a whole new idea of Jewishness that undermines so many of the negative assumptions coming out of the the big leadership in the Jewish world.
Readers of Page Six might have been surprised to find out that George Clooney would throw pies at good friend Richard Kind for not allowing him to have a Christmas tree when they were rooming together, but as someone who’s spent nearly twenty years in yeshivas and most of my adult life reporting on the Jewish world, I was far more astonished that this Hollywood actor cared that much about preserving his Jewish heritage.
Everything that billionaire philanthropists and hundred-million-dollar initiatives are telling the Jewish world is that most of the people we’re interviewing are a lost cause. You’d expect that New York media types and comedians would be the first to express cynicism about ancient Jewish traditions — and it’s the assumption that kids today ("kids" being anyone under 45 in Jewish organizational lingo) don’t want any part of those traditions that is leading to massive investments in new programs that try to put a new spin on being Jewish — no matter how desperate or different these efforts may seem.
But maybe Judaism’s doing OK, after all, and maybe these people are the proof of it.
"Luke Ford reports all of the 'juicy' quotes, and has been doing it for years." (Marc B. Shapiro)
"This guy knows all the gossip, the ins and outs, the lashon hara of the Orthodox world. He’s an [expert] in... all the inner workings of the Orthodox world." (Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff)
"This generation's Hillel." (Nathan Cofnas)