What does it mean to be Jewish? Rabbis and poets and the atheist uncles at my family’s Seder table have debated the question for generations. Forget the scholars and drunks, I say. The best answer I’ve ever heard came from a comedian. His name was Lenny Bruce.
Lenny Bruce is our greatest comic and patron saint of profanity. I remember the first time I heard his classic take on the issue. Being Jewish, he taught us, simply meant being .. not goyish. And if you didn’t know what goyish was, all that meant was … not Jewish. Pretty simple, right?
The difference between the two, however, can sometimes be very subtle. Lenny explained what it meant back in the 1960s, but I wondered: how can we explain this critical, vitally important issue to the Youtube generation?
So, with my friends over at 3200Stories, I decided to make an updated version for 2013. I studied the ancient texts, examined every pop culture trend, and came up with some surprising results. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure.
Buckle your online seat belts, this is a comedic trip from Mos Def to masturbation to God himself to see who comes out ahead in that age-old battle: Jewish vs. Goyish.
Note: Cross-posted with 3200Stories.
Josh Healey is an award-winning writer, performer, and creative activist. Fusing his distinct storytelling style with a subversive humor and fiery love for justice, Healey has been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and is a regular performer on NPR’s Snap Judgment.
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