Not Chosen, Just Posin'

I just got a job with a Jewish magazine. I'm not Jewish. They think I am.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Instead of ostracizing myself from the Jewish in-group, I have actually elevated myself to rockstar, cutting edge Jew status.

I'm not a fake Jew who doesn't get it; I'm a rebellious one who thinks for himself. I'm a revolutionary; a practitioner who drank the punch but then spit it out...

It all started out with the whole
briss situation*. I thought that was the end of me. A Jew who thinks briss' are tacky and obnoxious? Why I never!

Following that close call and, I must admit, brilliant recovery, I made a mental pact to keep my mouth shut about anything I don't know about. No opinions about anything of which I'm not expertly informed. Jewish, not Jewish, it doesn't matter. My mouth has the unique ability of getting me into trouble when I'm least expecting it.

My mental pact with myself lasted all of three days. I previously mentioned the guy in my office who just got engaged to a shiksa-goy-non Jewish girl (one of these has to be the appropriate term). Well, on Friday he was telling everyone that she had talked about getting Christmas trees during the holidays despite their agreement to raise their children Jewish. He told her, "Our house will be a Jewish house. That means no Christmas trees." She argued with him that the Christmas tree had nothing to do with the actual holiday and had no religious relevance. From here he went into some weak argument that it's called a "Christmas" tree and "Christmas" contains the word "Christ" so... No. A girl after my own heart, she argued that they would refer to it as a "Pine" tree and his previous argument would become null and void. Of course, everyone in his current audience agreed with him. This is where I stepped in and agreed with her, delivering my spiel about Christmas being a cultural tradition more than a religious holiday. How presents, trees, dinner and music have nothing to do with Jesus in a manger. Evern further, I'll be the first one to second the notion that this whole Immaculate Conception thing is the most abstract, creative con in history. Really though. But anyway, the whole Christ being a part of Christmas thing? It's a nice tie-in if you're looking for a rationalization as to why you're spending your life savings on candy canes and fruit cake, but it's not necessarily the focus of most peoples' celebratory rituals.

As I'm detailing my over-zealous thought process regarding the 'Christ/Christmas relationship in the the 21st century', I realize that I'm again incriminating myself—and doing so at risk of breaking my self-inflicted, precautionary pact. Oddly though, people are nodding their heads in agreement with me. Suddenly, I'm a modern day prophet who delivers a message to which I have been made uniquely privy. In the end, the fiancé guy comes to terms with my point of view and actually dials his girlfriend to give her the whole, "I've been doing a lot of thinking about this whole Christmas tree situation, and I see your point..." routine. I see a girl silently admiring me and others breaking off into discussion groups where they seemingly explore the topic further (Okay fine, they were talking silently from cube to cube... A man can dream, can't he?) Who knows - if we were in another setting, there might be signs with my name on it. "I love you Not Chosen Just Posin'" banners. Girls fainting. Guys getting jealous. The whole thing.

Unfortunately, I'm not on a stage with a mic in my hand. I'm just at my desk in a windowless office using my lack of knowledge as gospel and my naiveté as a pulpit. Somehow this seems to be working out for me though.

*I told the briss story to a few of my close friends and they all conceded that I was just an idiot. Evidently 'briss' is a popular member of the vernacular.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The following is an email that arrived in our (my colleagues' and mine) collective inboxes this morning. One of the "lifers," as I like to refer those who have made a life long career out of this place, composed these guidelines for us newbies and non-lifers alike:

From: Lifer
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006
To: Non-Lifers & Newbies
Subject: Top Secret List

Per your request, below is a list of the Top 10 Things That Will Keep You From Getting Yelled At by retracted. I understand the rationale for some, not all, but trust me: following these guidelines will save you several trips into his office:

  • Do not use the logo memo pads for scrap paper

  • Guys: Always wear yarmulkas for advertiser meetings. Girls: Skirts

  • Say hi and bye to him when you arrive and leave for the day

  • Read the Jerusalem Post daily; Keith Kelly’s column in the NY Post on Wednesday and Fridays

  • Turn your cell phone ringer off during the day

  • If he tells you you did something wrong, don’t explain how a character flaw contributed to you messing up.

  • Put a title on all your emails

  • Answer the phones

  • Turn off your computer screen when you leave for the day

  • Act more formal to advertisers than they do to you

  • I unfortunately haven’t learned all the rules yet (still get called in quite a bit) but I’ll pass on more as I learn them – feel free to do the same…



    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Once upon a time, I was offered the opportunity to work for John, the author of the book above [not putting his last name because I don't want him to Google it and find me - plus, it's on the book]. Had I accepted the offer, I would have been part of the marketing team that landed him at #1 on Barnes& (and possibly others, but I never cared enough to check).

    The gist of John's book was that he was an Israeli street kid who came from nothing and arrived at something. He used to work in bathhouses, where he listened to the men chat about their investments and money Ultimately he decided that he wanted to be rich. The book outlines the steps he took to arrive at that goal.

    After I met with John and took home his manuscript, I decided to turn down the job. To me, the book was too simply written. The story was your cookie cutter "rags to riches" one and I thought he was a bit pompous. Plus, he only wanted to pay me $10/hour part time. While my dad always said that people don't get rich by giving away their money, John's book launch party - which I attended - was the icing on the cake. He provided cheap wine and store-bought sushi. If you could have seen this guy's mansion, you would understand how this was illogical. I was always glad I declined his offer.

    The only reason I mention John is because he exemplifies the ever-popular "I started from nothing," schtick that many successful people tend to spew like gospel. My boss, for one, is a fine example. Whenever he has a friend or potential advertiser stop by the office, I hear the same thing over and over: "You see this room right here." Here he points to where he's standing and draws an invisible circle around his person. "This used to be the entire office. I've built everything you see here. When I started, I was working nights as a busboy and my wife was temping at a law firm." I also like this one: "I'm a humble man, from humble beginnings." But, my all-time favorite has to be, "Who woulda thought this was all possible? You know - a little Israeli kid..." I'll have to admit that his strong accent adds an endearing touch. The twinkle in the eye thing though? Quit while you're ahead, bub.

    I've only been working here a couple weeks and I've heard enough speeches to last a man a life time. I assume that at my review I'll get a personalized version. "Son, you can build an empire of your own one day. There's a lot you could learn from a man like me."

    Is that supposed to be impressive? Don't most people start from nothing? Don't most people have to start at the bottom to get to the top? While there are few exceptions, most people don't own a magazine at birth. Congratulations, you're a hardworker! As for this whole humility act? It's gotta stop. Didn't anybody ever tell you that too much humility is actually a form of narcissism? Well, probably not, because I just made it up.

    On that note, do you need a literary agent? I know a bestseller when I see one.

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

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    My ignorance is at work even when I'm not.

    After work last night a few people decided to have a drink at one the staff writers' apartments. I thought this would be a good chance for me to mingle. My plan is to make nice and become liked before my cover is exposed. That way, people will just brush off my religious-disadvantage, rationalize and then accept me. It's like what I was talking about on Monday; I'll just fall into some Reformed Jewish sect, like Jews that don't have Jewish mothers. It will be the "Catholic Editor of a Jewish Magazine" Jewish sect.

    All evil ploys aside, I'm not one to turn down a night of drinking and watching Dr. 90210 (my dirty little secret, by the way... I thoroughly enjoy chick shows). On the other hand, this show got me into a bit of Jewish-trivia trouble. In one of the many episodes we watched, Dr. Li and her husband held a briss for their newborn son. If, like me, you have/had no idea what a briss is, it is basically a Jewish circumcision party. A "mohel" (pronounced, I think, "moy-yol") is a Jewish ritual circumciser who comes in and cuts off the baby's foreskin while adult attendees have a wine celebration, followed by a celebratory meal. When I saw what was going on, I declared that, "Who has their friends over for wine and circumcision? These people are sick in the head." The blank stares that I've been known to attract, again entered the room on cue.

    "You didn't have a briss?" One guy asked me, pointedly.

    I almost let the cat out of the bag, stating that 'Hell no, I'm 100 percent Italian," but I bit my tongue just in time.

    Another guy entered the conversation, saying that he still remembers his briss. Attention shifted to him, because how could anyone possibly remember that? He was born in Russia so he didn't have his foreskin tended to until he moved to the United States when he was six-years old. Evidently the religious restrictions in Soviet Russia were under such strict micro-management that even the whereabouts of boys' foreskin were accounted for.

    The Russian's soapbox was limited though. Everyone looked back over at me. Fortunately, I had somewhat put the pieces together by this point.. Clearly a briss is a customary Jewish shindig with which I should be very familiar.

    "I know it's traditional, but I've always had this rebellious inclination toward making my son's briss more of a private affair."

    A few people nodded their heads and halfway agreed. I assume I made them think. And if so, hopefully it was not about my religion, my origin or my (un)kosher... well, you know.

    As an aside, when I got home last night, I grabbed a box of Wheat Thins and sat down at my computer to do a little briss research. As I pulled up the definition on Wikipedia, I quickly lost my appetite. While I wasn't eating Vienna sausages or anything gastronomically nostalgic, I still couldn't stomach it. It made me wonder how anyone could top the night off with a celebratory meal? I'll just go ahead and stick with my story about rebellious inclinations and all that.

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

    I love this quote, but have to admit that I didn't re-unite with it until having seen the previews for that My Super Ex-Girlfriend bomb that's coming out soon. These previews couldn't have surfaced at a more perfect time considering what happened here in the last week (and by "in the last week," I could mean "yesterday." Then again, I could also mean "in the last year and I just now heard about it but I don't want to date myself or reveal my publication." Of course, it could have also just happened this morning).

    In a previous post, I mentioned that I didn't intend to perpetuate the "Jews are Cheap" stereotype (although my anecdote somehow worked to do just that). In this post, I intend to explore the stereotype's exact inverse, for there is indeed a level at which this perhaps mythical desire to save/make money comes to a staggering halt. That level? Refer to the quote above. When a woman is scorned, there is no telling what she will do.

    The publisher's wife, who I might add has no publishing experience or skills other than those which she has sexually transmitted from her husband*, likes to believe she has a starring role in this show. She comes into the office everyday to play boss; point some fingers, bark some orders and make some decisions (that are most often vetoed by her higher ups... me).

    Of all of the decisions she has made, the one that struck hardest and resonated most amongst the employees, is the one that remained firm. I won't build it up anymore: The publisher's wife got in a heated argument about ??? with the highest grossing account executive ever and fired her. Let me rephrase. This girl pulled in $XXX,XXX ad dollars every other month. I can't think of a single thing that would ever piss me off enough to pull that stunt. I think all men, Jewish or not, would agree with me when I say I would have swallowed my pride and reconciled with the account executive before giving up an employee who brought in those numbers to the company. I'd probably even throw in a back and foot massage to seal the deal. In fact, if I were the publisher I'd go as far as to say that I'd leave my wife before I'd quit the account exec. It's true. Who wants a woman like that around anyhow? Hey, I'm just being real here...

    The scariest part of it all is that the publisher/owner of the magazine did not retract his wife's demand. It must be hard walking around with that thing stuck between your legs.

    *However, I guess if one can transmit a religion via copulation, it's safe to assume that one can also transmit a career via the same method. By this logic, maybe the publisher's wife is a trained mag publisher.

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    This weekend I attended an out-of-town conference. The presentation I enjoyed most was about branded entertainment in terms of integrated product placement in movies, media tie-ins, etc… I couldn’t help but visualizing my new tabloid being strategically read by Natalie Portman in the next inevitable string of Holocaust movies (the world will never get tired of creating and watching these things, and with such tight demographics, my magazine’s subscription base would surely soar from just a 5-second spot).

    Anyhow, the speaker’s underlying message was that an emotional attachment is key to convincing a consumer that he/she likes your product. A consumer can make a rational list of characteristics he/she is looking for, but what ultimately makes the buying decision is this emotional attachment. The attachment is so strong that it convinces the consumer that the product at hand actually attains all of the desired attributes…even if it clearly does not.

    Before I jump into my clever little office segway, I’d have to say that the Britney Spears/K-Fed thing has to be the most prominent example of the “Emotional Attachment Drives Rationalization” theory, that I’ve ever seen. Britney made a list (albeit a short one) of things she wanted in a partner:

    1). Good baby’s daddy
    2). Good looking
    3). Wants to settle down
    4). White trash or “down to earth,” whichever term fits
    5). Non-Celebrity

    Each of these factors has the whole “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” alibi, but there’s no doubt that Britney’s inexplicable emotional attachment to Kevin is best demonstrated by the above described theory. She created his good qualities in her mind so that she could explain why she, oddly, loves him so much.

    The same rule applies – I think – to a male colleague of mine who just got engaged to the prototypical shiksa princess, despite his previous allegiance to the Jewish woman. The thing with Judaism—and to most of you, this is old news—is that the religion, like a strand of DNA, is passed on to the child by the mother. Thusly, when my colleague marries his non-Jewish fiancé, their child will technically not be Jewish. However, his emotional attachment to his fiancé has counteracted this fact. Now he is in the rationalization process where he is reorganizing the elements so they fall into his thought paradigm correctly.

    When I (naively) asked him how he planned to raise his future children now that he's marrying outside the religion, he said they would be raised Jewish, only they would inherit it from him.

    I gave him an inquisitive look, which must have displayed my ignorance, and he explained that they would be “Reformed” – a sect of Judaism that is more lenient than its strict counterparts.

    My God, I thought. The whole Jewish religion is rationalizing on his behalf. That is great! While Jews don’t actively seek converts, they try their darndest to keep the tribe members they’ve got. If this means rationalizing and creating easier ways for members to follow along, then so be it. "Not only are you forgiven, we've created a whole new sect for you and your cronies." Talk about a religion that caters to its peoples' needs. I could get used to this.

    I guess this idea is somewhat equivalent to the Catholic confessional phenomenon, except that it's not nearly as telling or guilt-inducing. On that note, I think Reformed Catholicism would be a step in the right direction. Divorce, pre-marital sex and condoms would make more than a serious debut in our somber churches. Plus, it would keep believers coming back for more.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    I was afraid of Jewish women until yesterday.

    A bit of background: I saw the off-broadway play Jewtopia a few nights ago (yes, yes - research). The underlying story was that a non-Jewish guy wanted to become Jewish so that he could date Jewish girls. Why did he want to date Jewish girls (this is what his Jewish friend wanted to know)? Are you crazy??? As it turns out, the misguided young goy figured that if he dated a Jewish girl he would never have to make a decision again. She'd make all of them for him. And so the stereotypes ensued.

    Every Jewish stereotype you can imagine was exploited and perpetuated by these guys. (Jews are never healthy, they always complain at dinner, they are in constant contact with their parents during travel, etc...) Of course, since the play was written by two Jewish guys, it was okay that they were making these over-generalizations, but if I make them? Well then, I'm a step up from Hitler. Love it. (This is similar to a black guy having the right to call his friend a 'nigga,' but if a white guy walks up and declares, "What up, my nigga?" That fool should expect to get shot...)

    Anyway, this is kind of my little disclaimer for the generalization I'm about to make about all Jewish women based on the actions of only one: Jewish girls rule!

    This conclusion was made after I overheard one of my female co-workers telling another girl about the gift she just sent her long-distance boyfriend. She sent him a gardening knee-pad thing. Does he garden? Nope. He lives in a highrise. She instructed him to slip it under his couch for her to pull it out to use herself when necessary.

    Look, if it doesn't work out with him, I'm single.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    I get some pretty entertaining emails these days. These, along with a few notable comments, are making my inevitable sacking all the more worthwhile. I thought I'd share a few lines from my greatest hits collection*. My responses are below.

    1). "Dude, you should bring a BLT for lunch just to see how everyone would react."

    2). "You should get a tattoo of a swastika."

    3). "I'm not Jewish, but I live with a Jewish guy who is obsessed with pigs. He has a bunch of pig knick-knacks, a pig screensaver on his computer and he just got a pig tattoo'd on his left forearm. He has a tattoo of a radish on his right forearm, so he was never normal to start with..."

    4). "Wear a Star of David necklace to work."

    5). "Oh man. After seeing the previous post, I think you best be careful not to write on this blog during work hours. Unless you're trying to get fired and collect some unemployment. Not that the employment would amount to much, apparently."

    6). "What's your name? What's the name of the magazine where you work?"

    My thoughts:

    1). I'm not trying to piss people off here, nor am I trying to "shock and awe" my co-workers. If anything I'm trying to assimilate, not segregate myself.

    2). So yeah, I'm not racist. Never was a big fan of the Holocaust or Hitler. Never got in on the jokes. As I explained to one of my more 'in-the-box' commenters yesterday - just because I'm not Jewish and I'm talking specifically about Jewish people does not, by any means, mean that I'm ostracizing a whole religion or culture. It's quite the opposite, actually. I'm pretty laid back when it comes to religion. I don't care what people believe and I don't get offended by people who want to discuss it (unless they want to preach, but that's a sentiment shared universally). In fact, if everyone else in the world had my attitude, there would probably be nothing going on in the Middle East right now. Either way, people who get offended easily, need not read my writing.

    3). Now that would make for an excellent interview. Send me his contact info. I'd call it, "The New Jew: What You Can Expect Generation X to Bring to the [Seder] Table." I want pictures. [Note: This idea is now my property.]

    4). I'm trying to assimilate, not convert.

    5). While I probably will end up getting fired for this eventually, my co-workers aren't your average Gawker-reading, cosmopolitan, media-whores (but, oh, how I wish they were!) Unless someone gets hard evidence that I am the one writing this blog, I should be fine. Plus, I'm a damn good liar.

    6). Nice try.

    * "Greatest hits" to some people means "a collection of accomplishments over a lifetime." To me it means "feedback I've received in the last 9 days." Since I put myself in jeopardy of losing my job daily, I figure that my time frames should be viewed in dog years, anyway. You understand.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    This note was not left on my desk this morning, but wouldn't it be kind of freaky if it was?

    It's quite the opposite, in fact. I don't walk around on eggshells wondering whether people are on to my little jig. And I don't act like an outsider. I might seem a little overeager to listen in on subjects that are foreign to me ("Last Friday at temple..." Or, "I have to marry a Jewish man or my parents will kill me!"), but most of what we discuss is not religion-related. It's concept-related. Or sometimes even work-related. Go figure, eh?

    One 'Jewish versus Non-Jewish' comparison that I've noted, however, is that Jewish women - as far as I can tell, at least - do not dolt on their children like, say, my mom did to myself and my brothers. The majority of mothers that I've seen talking to their kids, do so as if their children are not actually human, but rather, cute kittens; asking them questions and then simultaneously answering them for the child.

    Mom: "You like your new toy don't you?"
    Mom: "Yes you do! I know you do."

    And the faces they make? Holy shit, the kid must be scared out of his cotton-pickin' mind!

    On the other end of the spectrum lies the Jewish woman. Two women in my office bring their kids into work with them every now and then (Couldn't find a babysitter? I don't know.) I can't explain how refreshing it is to hear them addressing their children as humans, rather than cats. I know that education is a huge part of the Jewish agenda and I would guess that this approach furthers that goal. Of course, all of my observations are limited to my little microcosm, so do with them what you will.

    In other news: As for the few nasty comments/emails I have received - one even alluding that I'm only a step-up from Hitler! - I laugh at your simpleton minds. The mere mention of one religion by a member of another frightens you? Oy vay!

    On that note, it is day 5 and yes, I still hate my job.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    This week and last week account for New York City's summer "Restaurant Week" schedule.

    Before moving to New York (almost a year ago from Indiana), I used to fly out every July and January just to cut a break on the usually-expensive restaurants out here. During restaurant week you get a 3-course lunch for $24.07 or a similar dinner for $35. I've always treated the scenario as if a mathematical algorithm, figuring that I'd only go to expensive restaurants that I couldn't otherwise afford. Basically, some restaurants make money during restaurant week (the cheap ones) and others lose money (the expensive ones). I opt to eat at the expensive ones that are allowing me to use and abuse them, not vice versa. But really, I was never getting a deal since I was spending money flying out here from Indiana ($200) and staying at a hotel ($100,000,000,000/night). Either way, the idea of using someone just thrilled me. What can I say? I'm a sadist. Okay, a sadist taking on the role of a masochist. It happens.

    Analogies aside, what I'm trying to say is this: I now know how my boss feels. Using and abusing to save a buck. Man oh man, I just got my paycheck and I got seriously jipped.

    Just so you know, I'm not one to perpetuate stereotypes, but that whole thing about, well, you know - it's all true.

    But to be fair, yes, he told me how much I was getting paid up front. Yes, I knew ahead of time how much my check would be. NO - I did not know how boring my job would be. So as I leave you to write an elementary article about the proper body language one should use when he or she confronts another member of humanity, (no, I'm not kidding), I leave you with this message:

    "Dear Condé Nast, I'm totally okay giving a two-hour notice. Same to you, Fairchild, Meredith and Hearst. Hachette Filipachi? Ziff Davis? Yeah, we can talk."

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    I love this.

    I've been getting hits all day from the following memo, which was posted on some Craigslist writers' forum. I didn't even know such a forum existed. All I have to say is: Bring it.

    ATTN: NYC Jewish Magazine Publishers < Jewish > 07/15

    Please be aware:

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Two days ago my boss asked me to come up with 10 feature length article ideas. While I obviously can't share my real ideas with you for fear of getting fired — prematurely, that is — I instead bring you 10 ideas that I'd much rather see in the mag.

    The concept I'd like to slowly introduce into the magazine's genetic make-up is a kind of "US Weekly meets MAD magazine meets the Jerusalem Post" ensemble. No, I'm not kidding. Under my rule, the magazine would gradually evolve into a Jewish community tabloid (and really, every community deserves their own tabloid). I guarantee the already-impressive circulation numbers would skyrocket beyond comprehension. For it is true that those things being discussed secretively in the kitchens across the boroughs are a hell of a lot more interesting than anything the current rag has to offer. Gossip sells, my friends.

    And, oh yeah, part of my campaign to increase our ciruculation can be accredited to the kind folks at AARP: The Magazine. Their marketing technique is absolutely brilliant. Everytime someone turns 50, AARP begins sending him/her magazines bi-monthly, thus making the new 50 year old an automatic "subscriber." In turn, advertisers are impressed and AARP gains major bragging rights (I believe they're currently competing only with Reader's Digest for title of "highest-circulated glossy." Then again, I could be terribly misguided). Anyhow, if I apply the same technique to our mag, and everyone gets a magazine upon turning to Judaism (birth!), our circulation numbers will easily be the largest in the industry. I hate to say it, but there are some small time thinkers here...

    Rounding back to the articles. Think of the following ideas as only a small piece of what will be an all-encompassing proposal:

    President George W. Bush versus Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: How Do They Measure Up?

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    -This might benefit from an illustrated depiction of each, placed side by side. A comparison of foreign policy, governing style...and fashion instinct? These variables can be identified by simple arrows, which will point to the physical areas assumed responsible for the characteristic at hand. For instance, if we claim George Bush is too war hungry, we would depict this as resulting from his height disadvantage as well as his undesirable stature. (Are the majority of American Jews pro-Bush. by the way? With his whole pro-Israel schtick, I'm guessing he's a touchy subject. I can change this).

    This whole MTA-based Jews for Jesus Advertising Campaign: What gives?

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    -What does Jesus have to do with it anyway? And, are these so-called Jews looking for converts? Let's just say that I've never had a Jew knock on my door with a pamphlet before..

    A special advertising feature with JDate

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    -I wouldn't exactly call it revolutionary (okay, I would), but this is what dreams are made of: JDate would actually pay us to feature this month's hottest bachelors and bachelorettes. It's disguised advertising for them and a gimmick to attract more clients; i.e. attract more advertisers. Bonus: It looks like editorial...but it's not!

    Celeb interviews (but more importantly, Celeb pics!)

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    -Two words: Natalie. Portman.

    Jews in the News

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    Gawker recently reminded us that we're running out of cool Jews in this world. What we need is a celebrity spokesperson to represent us all again. Our past reign is declining due to not having proper representation. agrees, saying, "We've gone from badasses Lou Reed and James Caan to jackasses Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. Where are the hip male Jews?"

    I couldn't agree more. While at once we had Bob Dylan, now we have...Larry David? Intelligent and witty? Sure. But, a sexual icon? Well...

    This one could also have a website component whereby readers are directed to a link where they can vote for _______ magazine's favorite Jewish celebrity. This will increase website traffic and lure the advertisers' money. Ultimately the elected Jew-lebrity will grace our cover and be interviewed (against my better judgement, which mandates having a different interview with Natalie Portman every issue).

    Destination Israel.

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    -Israel is [always] at war. Yet, us Jews can't seem to get enough of this illustrious travel destination. Learn how to dodge missiles, spot a Palestinean suicide bomber and how to strike back at those pesky stone-throwers.


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    -Who was the mystery man spotted canoodling with Cindy Margolis at the Ivy in L.A.?
    -Matisyahu attracting much female attention to Hasidic men. Related: Hasidic men rethinking their views on promiscuity.
    -Jerry Seinfeld: Marriage on the rocks?
    -Planet Earth to Alicia Silverstone: "Honey, get to the gym."
    -Sarah Jessica Parker? Yep. She's a Jew too.
    -Madge: Cut the charade already! (To use the Jewish religion for one's own self gain? Would you believe?)

    I threatened to give you 10 story ideas.
    I was bluffing.
    You get 7.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    I take it back.

    One does have to continuously reinforce their Jewishness to other Jews. Like a company that's falling off the radar needs to send out a press release or two to remind people of its existence, the Jew must reiterate his/her religious choice when the mood arises.

    This is the press release that one of my female colleagues sent out first thing this morning:

    "I am, like, the SuperJew."

    How can anyone compete with that? Super-DuperJew?

    I want to win this competition! I want to be the best Jew NYC has ever laid eyes on! I want to keep alive the Jewish superiority that exists within these four walls!

    It is so gametime, my friends.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Day 1 in Summary.

    I'm definitely putting too much thought into this. They assume I'm one of them, so any extra attempt to convince them of something they already 'know' is only superflous. No more Jewish slang, no more bringing up Jewish topics or asking questions of a Jewish nature ("What are you doing for Shabbat?" - My new vocab word at work).

    I just have one very important question: In Gorillas in the Mist, did the gorillas think that Dian Fossey was one of them, or did they just accept her because she was so genuinely eager to be so? Just curious.

    Quite often, calling Dell's 24-hour customer service line will elicit a response from some flaky Indian service rep in chic Bombay. These reps are trained to use current American slang to fool you into thinking they are, in fact, in the United States (and, not to mention, completely on your side):

    "Oh, so you think you're being bamboozled, do you?"
    "This is our hippest model yet."
    "Have a groovy day."

    Well, this is how I felt today at lunch when I thought to try out some of my new Jewish slang for my coworkers.

    One of the design guys mentioned that his friend's band is playing this weekend. Am I into rock? If so, I should come with.

    "Kosher," I replied, casually.

    The remark drew blank stares.

    "I mean, not Kosher...?"

    I think I've been bamboozled out of the previous invite.

    From: Boss
    Date: Jul 12, 2006 8:07 AM
    Subject: Day 1


    I'll be out of the office for the majority of the day, so Redheaded girl with the annoying Long Island accent will be showing you around. If you have any questions, just ask. I've asked her to introduce you to your editorial staff as well as the ad sales team and designers. Being in the business for as long as you have, I probably don't have to tell you that the ad guys pretty much run the show. Get used to their requests to slightly alter content to appease the advertisers' every need. I thought it wise to warn you about this upfront, seeing as how this has been a gripe of previous editors. Unfortunately, editors don't pay my mortgage (It's my humor—you'll get used to it. For now, just try not to take it personally).

    On that note, remind Redheaded girl with the annoying Long Island accent to show you the latest book's galley sheets and the layout, which we hang on the wall in the design area (I've actually CC'd her on this email, so just keep it in mind). This is how we keep track of ad pages versus editorial pages; finished pages versus unfinished. Yes - a little archaic, but it works.

    What else?

    Oh, after you have become acquainted with the ''lay of the land," or so to speak, I'd like you to spend some more time with our past few issues and come up with ten feature-length article ideas (You'll notice that we like sidebars). I'll use these to gauge how in sync we are, and to find out how to better train you for the position.

    This should be enough to get you started. I'll check in with you when I return later.

    Welcome Aboard. We're thrilled to have you.

    Warmest Regards,

    Bosses Cheesy Signature Line
    Bosses Cheesy Signature Line 2
    Bosses Cheesy Signature Line 3

    All of this can essentially be summed up as: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting and Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting will have a more prominent role in editorial than I do.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Note: I Start Tomorrow.

    Real Jew: You should cook shabot dinner for the people in your office
    FakeJew: When is shabot*?
    Fake Jew: You have to keep me abreast of the holidays
    RealJew: It starts fri night and sat night...fool
    FakeJew: Really? What is the holdiay?
    Real Jew: And it happens every week
    FakeJew: Oh shit

    FakeJew: I'm going down.

    *Thanks go to A Concerned Fan , who pointed out that 'shabot' is no other than 'shabbat.' I need to form a committee of Jewish comrades who will help me out in similar times of need.

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    I didn't mean to take a job with a Jewish magazine, but, quite frankly, I was running out of money...

    Plus, it's not like the owner of the mag could really ask me if I was Jewish or not. So, I just thought to let him assume.

    His assumption manifested in this question:

    "So, what kind of Jew are you?"

    (Not, "Are you a Jew?" No, no, no... Clearly I was a Jew. Why else would I be interviewing?)

    "Ummmm... Sephardic?"

    (I'm Italian. Often confused with Spanish. Confusion is close enough, right?)

    "Sephardic, eh?"

    What a coincidence. We were both Sephardic Jews.

    My job would be senior editor of the magazine. 5 days a week, half days on Fridays. No insurance, but the celebrity interviews? Mine. There were posters everywhere. Ariel Sharon, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, so on and so forht. Sounded great, but I still declined.There's just no way I could pull it. I don't even know what Hannukah is. Passover? Yum Kippur? Pickled Herring? Mezuzah-door-thing-a-ma-jig? Beats the Matzoh outta me. But, I do know who Moses is:Charlton Heston. Duh.

    He must have liked me though, because he called me the same day and gave me an instant $400/month raise so that I'd say yes. "And we'll review that number after 3 months," he continued.

    If only I make it that long before I'm 'outed.' After all, don't forget what happened to him:

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Except, I think it was the reverse situation. Oh what I would give for an ounce of his Jew-ness...

    Either way, deception never was one of the virtuous ten.

    "I'm in."

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