Monday, September 29, 2008

New Year's Rush

I'm fresh off leg one of da big Cool Jew book tour, with seven flights in 10 days, through San Francisco, Syracuse, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Houston and LA.

It was truly all good. I was especially really blown away by the ability of the Houston folks to cope with continued power outages, a lack of street and traffic lights, and more. A really fun crowd turned out at the Houston gig and the next day, I met with students at Rice University. It was indeed cool to be talking about Spock and the Cohenic hand symbol while in the "House of Cohen" aka the faculty club. Nice place dat.

Meanwhile, Cool Jew has been getting some amazing press. You can see a few highlights here and below. For weeks now, CJ has consistently landed in the top 10 of Amazon's bestseller's list for Religion Humor books. It's right up there with AJ Jacob's Year of Living Biblically and Lewis Black's Me of Little Faith. How cool is that?

And while we're on the subject books... I want to thank everyone who has helped with the success of Cool Jew and to share this New Year wish.

May Hashem inscribe you in the book of life,

and in the book of every blessing...

of love, family and chevre,

of joy, good times and fun,

of health, wealth and a happy environment in all senses,

of growth, self-acceptance and forgiveness,

and of the fulfillment of your dreams, your highest ideals and your mission on this planet.

Wishing you a shana tova u'metukah--a sweet good year,

and a gut gebentsched johr--a good and blessed year,

And of course, a l'chaim in your punim!

Friday, September 26, 2008

No. 4.

It's a first! Cool Jew has just landed its highest ranking yet:
No. 4 on Amazon's bestseller list for humor religion books.

As Amazon puts it:

#4 in Books > Entertainment > Humor > Religion

At least for this hour, Cool Jew has taken the lead ahead of Lewis Black's Me of Little Faith.

Yeehaw, good Shabbos and mazal tov all around!

New York Daily News

Heebsters take over the Jewish New Year, not to mention New York

Thursday, September 25th 2008, 8:10 AM

Monday night at sunset marks 5769, the new year of the Hebrew calendar. Or, if you're a Jewish hipster, the first page of "The Ladies of '69" calendar - a six-page swimsuit pullout of scantily clad supermodel "tribe-members" in the summer issue of Heeb magazine. For publisher Joshua Neuman, this was not a spiritual decision in the classic sense.

"It was fun. I got to see Bar Refaeli naked," says New York-based Neuman of Leonardo DiCaprio's Israeli girlfriend, who posed for the cover surrounded by some very unkosher crustaceans.

Welcome to New York's Heebster movement, led by local tastemakers hell-bent on pushing the boundaries of traditional Jewish culture.

"A Heebster is a cool jew," says Lisa Alcalay Klug, author of "Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe," released this month. "It's about owning the stereotypes, expressing irreverence and realizing our tribe is a great shindig."

The "shindig" is packed. The dress code? Self referential T-shirts, ironic tallis prayer shawls. The rules? Anything goes. Starting with the clothes. (More)

San Francisco Chronicle

Leah Garchik Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Cool Jew" provides directions for making a shofar, the ram's horn trumpet used in synagogue. These begin with boiling the horn in water and baking soda for a couple of hours to remove cartilage and end with warnings about keeping the thing kosher: Don't drill holes in it. Don't paint it.

Finally, the most modern caveat: "Don't choose a shofar online. Before you buy, it's best to know how thy horn doth blow. Pucker up!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the Beat Goes On...

Despite the hurricane, the Cool Jew tour is charging ahead...

Last week, after delivering the key note to the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award Winners in the majestic Presidio in San Francisco (the fifth event in six days!), I flew to Syracuse for a book talk at the rolling hills of the very pastoral Colgate University. On tap: kosher pasta at the Jewish Student Center with a group of school leaders, then black and white cookies and egg creams post- book talk.

Everything was great, my host Rabbi Dave, the amazing views from the flight in, the charming Colgate Bookstore which is carrying Cool Jew, and my digs at the historic Colgate Inn. Only my luggage didn't make it. From Colgate, I headed south but once again, there was trouble in paradise. On Day 2, my flight was delayed, so I missed my connecting flight. Thankfully, my good friend Kim arrived on time at Ft. Lauderdale Airport in her stylin' former taxi cab. We've tooled around all week like Starsky (me) and Hutch (yes, she's a blondie), satisfying my incessant cravings for authentic Israeli food and even getting my hair cut by a real-life Zohan (with no back room), Shai Salon International. The cab is incredibly reliable. Today, someone actually tried to hail us for a fare.

Tomorrow equals West Palm Beach and the next day, Houston. Yep, Houston. There may not be power at the JCC but the books are in, the beer is on tap and the event is happening. Computer juice may be dwindling at that point, so posts will likely be intermittent. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


This was a big week for Cool Jew in San Francisco...

Four events: Picnic Fest in the Oakland Hills, Berkeley Launch Party, Hebrew High Opening Night in Saratoga and an in-store book talk at Bob & Bob in Los Altos.

Next... a Monday keynote for the San Francisco Federations Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards and the red-eye to Syracuse for a Tuesday night talk at Colgate University.

Sandwiched in between: articles in the LA and NYC Blueprints and interviews with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and other outlets... and a front page mention on!

As Kelly Hartog explains, in her piece "Releasing Your Inner Heebster,"

To say that Lisa Alcalay Klug is incredibly busy right now would be an understatement. With the publication of her first book: "Cool Jew – The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe," Klug is suddenly caught up in a whirlwind of sneak-preview parties, book launches, readings, and, of course, press interviews. (more)

Thanks, Kelly, for the shout out!

Stay tuned for reports from the road when the whirlwind calms down...

Friday, September 12, 2008

On the Peninsula!

This Sunday, Sept. 14th, come on out for
a book reading and signing at Bob & Bob Judaica,
4500 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA 94022, (650) 947-4500,, 3 pm.

Shabbat Shalom-y homies!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Berkeley Launch Recap

Last night's Berkeley launch was, in the words of my father who was there to take it all in, "astounding all around!"

Meshugga rocked it. The Manis poured freely. The cheesecake, covered in Black Mani sauce, was da bom. Best of all, the room was packed to capacity with a wide spectrum of tribespeople and friends. From reform to frum, everyone was feelin' da unified love. The only thing lacking are photos to really show off the fun. I was so busy with my PowerPoint presentation, giving away door prizes and signing books, I didn't have a chance to take a single photo!

Thanks to Wendy Kenin, who managed to snap some shots amidst the hub bub!

Thanks so so much to Susie Marcus, Lois Marcus and the entire team who made the event such a great success:,, EcoTeas, Saul Kaye, Hip Hop Shabbat, Meshugga Beach Party, Congregations Beth El, Beth Israel, Netivot Shalom, Beit Midrash Ohr HaHaim, Temple Beth Hillel and Berkeley Hadassah.

Mazal tov all around!

Cool Jew Goes to Canada

More great news! The Cool Jew Tour is crossing the border.

On Nov. 2, Cool Jew will appear at Indigo Books in Yorkdale Mall, with a reading and signing, 6 - 8 pm. Co-presented by The Jewish Magazine and JUMP.

On Nov. 3, the Koffler Centre of the Arts is hosting a Cool Jew Cabaret & Reception showcasing local Cool Jew talent. The evening begins with a 6 pm reception at the Koffler Gallery together with the 7th annual Bookmark Project--featuring artist-designed bookmarks selected from an open call, on display and inserted clandestinely into books at the 32nd annual Jewish Book Fair of the Koffler Centre of the Arts. Leah Posluns Theatre, 4588 Bathurst Street, Toronto, 6 - 8 pm, $10. Co-presented by Hillel of Greater Toronto, The Jewish Magazine and Pages Books and Magazine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meshugga Launch Party

TONIGHT: the Berkeley Community-Wide Cool Jew Book Launch.

Join us for a kosher martini bar, dessert reception, goodie bags and other surprises and live performance by Meshugga Beach Party this Wednesday night Sept. 10th.

Sponsored by Hadassah, co-presented by Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Netivot Shalom and Temple Beth Hillel with the generous support of

7:30 pm, Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford, Berkeley. Free. Hasidic Hawaiian attire optional.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Radio and TV Report


Radio and TV Report

Jon Stewart... Adam Sandler... Judd Aptow...

Why It’s Cool to be Jewish

It hasn’t always been easy for the chosen people, with all the
enslavement and the wandering in the desert. Even today,
being Jewish can have its burdens (see the Middle East), but
here in America it’s hip to be a Jew.

Jews are an integral part of America. The entertainment industry
in America would practically shut down without the
talents of numerous members of The Tribe. Imagine the
movies without Harrison Ford and Dustin Hoffman; the music
industry without Paul Simon and Bob Dylan; and how could
you possibly get your news fix without Jon Stewart’s Daily
Show? And don’t forget the political cool that is Supreme
Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Governor
Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. Not to mention the Jewish
scientists, inventors and writers who have enriched our lives.

Lisa Alcalay Klug thinks being Jewish
is about much more than bagels and lox,
it’s a state of mind. “It's about moxie,
about feeling Yiddishe foxy! Because
when you're of Da Tribe, you've got
Da Vibe.” she says.

Klug has written the ultimate field manual
for 21st century Jews and the people
who love them. Her book COOL JEW:
The Ultimate Guide for Every Member
of the Tribe decodes contemporary
Judaism and its hippest forms of
cultural expression.

Bring Lisa on for a funny show
that includes:
• The “Heebster Jewke Box,” tunes
that rock the Jewish vibe.
• What you need to know to
Super Jew yourself or just be
friend the Jewish people.
• Thoughts on Jewish identity,
rituals, clothing and cuisine.
• Tips for Jews on how to behave in the South,
Siberia, and other hostile territories.

CREDENTIALS: The daughter of an Ashkenazi Holocaust
survivor and the descendant of a Sephardic chief rabbi of
Sarajevo, Lisa Alcalay Klug is an American-born journalist
whose work has appeared in a wide range of mainstream
and Jewish publications, including the New York
Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press and Los
Angeles Times. Lisa has also written for Jewish Living,
Hadassah, Canadian Jewish News, Jewish Telegraphic
Agency, and many other media outlets.

CONTACT: Shelly Barkes, (800) 851-8923, ext. 6818,

Monday, September 8, 2008



Picnic Fest rocked it and now it's on to the
Berkeley Community-Wide Cool Jew Book Launch.

Join us for a kosher martini bar, dessert reception, goodie bags and other surprises and live performance by Meshugge Beach Party this Wednesday night Sept. 10th.

Sponsored by Hadassah, co-presented by Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Netivot Shalom and Temple Beth Hillel.

7:30 pm, Congregation Beth El, 1301 Oxford, Berkeley. Free. Hasidic Hawaiian attire optional.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Picnic Fest

Today's the day!

Come on out for a Picnic Fest in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park

Join one of the largest San Francisco East Bay Jewish community annual events -- a day of free kosha eats, free entertainment, free beer & wine gardens and free raffle prizes, including an autographed copy of Cool Jew. Entertainment includes live performances by Lisa, the Ferris Wheels and Moshav. 11 am - 4 pm. More info.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Giveaway Winner!

The envelope please...

The winner of the first Cool Jew book giveaway is Rebecca Sacks of Rhode Island, the home of the historic Touro Synagogue visited on horseback by Honorary Heebster George Washington. See p. 132!

Mazal tov, Rebecca!

And good Shabbos, homies.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Chosen Blog

I really had no idea when I wrote Cool Jew that so many Heebsters would wanna team up and join the shindig.

My goal was to celebrate our people, show what's out there and where to get it... But now that the book is out, just blogged it up big on The Chosen Blog.

And set up a shop.

Now, not only can you pick up gear from da book...

but you can also read all about it.

Here's an excerpt:

What DOES it Take to Be a Cool Jew?

Author Lisa Alcalay Klug Lets Us Know!

Award-winning author Lisa Alcalay Klug's "Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe" was released to the eager masses this week and we thought, what better forum for a book on being a cool Jew than The Chosen Blog! So Sheebsters and Heebsters, if you're down with lox, know your Jewish geography, and can't start your day without a little Manischewitz, read on for a sneak peek at the book!

The Chosen Blog: Oy! This really is the whole megillah on being a Cool Jew! This must have been a progressive work over years and years! What, or maybe who, inspired you to write this book?

Lisa Alcalay Klug: First the what: a few articles I wrote in late 2005. One was for the San Francisco Chronicle on how cool it is to be Jew in the Bay Area. Another was for the Forward about eight nights of kitsch of Chanukah gifts. What these two articles shared was pride in Jewish culture, shmaltz and a reverent irreverence. Once I formulated that into the idea of a Heebster Handbook--Cool Jew's Hebrew name--I knew I had the makings of a book. (more...)

Props to Chavi, the Chosen Blog's "Kvetching-Editor-At-Large," and Sara, the Sheebster behinds the scenes. Thanks for the shout out, sistahs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cool Jew Has Launched!

Cool Jew keeps landing in the Amazon top ten for bestsellers in the Humor/Religion category.

Reports of book sightings keep coming in from Heebsters 'round the country... in Hollywood, West LA, Soho, Brooklyn, Highland Park, Cleveland, Berkeley and...

And press keeps coming. Orange County Jewish Life magazine published a big ol' spread in its new issue. Here's an excerpt:

Book Review � Cool Jew
- Mira Tweti

An Interview with the Author of Cool Jew

Cool Jew. Cool Book.

Last May I met writer Lisa Alcalay Klug at Book Expo LA . It�s the largest book event of the year, so it�s a minor miracle that we bumped into each other.

Her new book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, a field manual for 21st century Jews and the people who love them, is really fantastic and fun. With almost 400 illustrations and other images, the book is a pastiche of fun and funny facts, information, and creative expression about Jewish identity.

Cool Jew covers everything: rituals, clothing and cuisine, to holidays, spirituality, diversity, and language. There are original illustrations, historical pieces, album covers, Kabbalistic paintings, pop Judaica, and much more. Or as Klug says "Jew got questions? Jew got answers! Cool Jew does for matzah balls and gefilte fish what The Official Preppy Handbook did for plaid and polo, only with much more chutzpah!"

Klug is an American-born Jewish journalist whose work has appeared in a wide range of mainstream and Jewish publications, like the New York Times, Associated Press Los Angeles Times, Jewish Living, Hadassah, Moment, Forward, Canadian Jewish News, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Jerusalem Report. That alone doesn't make her an authority. That qualification also comes from her upbringing as the daughter of an Ashkenazi Holocaust survivor and descendant of a Sephardic chief rabbi of Sarajevo. Klug has taught in the Kol Echad spirituality retreats in Maui and at the Jewlicious Festivals. She is an advisor to Schmooze: The Sidney Krum Jewish Culture Conference and a judge at the Simply Manischewitz Cook Off. As a consultant, she partners with organizations to present public programs, panel discussions, workshops, and seminars. She also spends time surfing and visiting family in Orange County, as you'll read below.

Mira: Is the book really "Not just for Jews" as the sticker on the cover suggests?

Lisa: The best way to answer may be to tell you about my editor. She is the person who first acquired the book for my publisher, Andrews McMeel. In other words, my non-Jewish editor, Christine, was the book's first buyer. And like my editor, many non-Jews have told me they love the book. That includes my non- Jewish sister-in-law who is thankful to finally have a fun reference guide. (She still doesn't enjoy eating lox, but that's another story.)

Click on digital edition and head to p. 63 for full scoopage. Ch, ch, check it.

Got a shot of Cool Jew in your neck of the woods? Send it on in to lisa (at) cooljewbook (dot) com and compete to win our next giveaway!

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Launch Giveaway Winner.