Thursday, April 30, 2009

Announcing the Cool Mamalah's Giveaway!

I'm happy to announce the formation of "Cool Mamalahs." No, we're not a roller derby team. Or a girl band. We're just six Sheebsters crazy about being Jewish! And we've teamed up to give away the mother of all Mother’s Day Gift Boxes.

United under the tag “Cool Mamalahs,” each of us are contributing to our prize package valued at $150: the Call-Your-Mother Gift Box Giveaway.

* A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes from Grandma’s Fritzie’s Kitchen (Harvard Common Press) by Jennifer Felicia Abadi, retail value $24.95
* The Mama Doni Band’s “I Love Herring (& Other Fish Shticks for Kids)”, “I Love Chanukah” and “I Love Purim” music CDs, total value $25
* “Shomer Negiah Panties” designed by artist Maya Escobar, gift certificate valued at $50
* The Modern Jewish Mom’s Guide To Shabbat: Connect and Celebrate-Bring Your Family Together with the Friday Night Meal (Harper Paperbacks) by Meredith Jacobs, retail value $16.95
* Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe (Andrews McMeel Publishing) by Lisa Alcalay Klug, retail value $12.99
* Pomegranate vases/candle holders by Israeli artist Racheli Peretz provided by Jennie Rivlin Roberts,, retail value $36

To enter to win the Call-Your-Mother Gift Box Giveaway, visit the blog ( at and submit your answer to this question: “Why does your mom, grandmother, sister, friend, cousin or you deserve the ‘Call-Your-Mother Gift Box?’” On this page, visitors can also click through to purchase elements of the Gift Box. (No purchase is required to win. This contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.)

The winner will be announced here on Mamalah's Day, May 10th, 2009, on the websites of the “Cool Mamalahs” and at, Facebook, Twitter and other online outlets.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring Tour: NYC

Monday night, April 27th, I'll be speaking at a private class for 20s and 30s on the Upper West Side in New York City. This is a free event. Contact Lisa for details.

Meanwhile, Cool Jew is No. 10 on Amazon's bestseller's list for Humor Religion books.

Mazal tov all around!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring Tour Continues

The Spring Tour, which took a brief hiatus for Passover, continues this week in Madison, Wisconsin, home of both the KlezKamp Road Show and The Conney Conference: "Performing Histories, Inscribing Jewishness."

The Road Show was amazing display of talent and devotion to Yiddish language, music and culture.

Today is Yom HaShoah v'HaGevurah: the day of Holocaust Remembrance, Resistance and Defiance so there are no events scheduled.

The Conney Conference begins this evening with an evening reception with proceedings beginning tomorrow.

I'm presenting tomorrow night at 7:30 pm in tandem with Maya Escobar at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Deets: The Chazen Museum of Art is located at 800 University Avenue, tel. 608.263.2246. The Conney Conference is sponsored by the Conney Arts Project and the university's Center for Jewish Studies.

Meanwhile, the Top Ten Returns! Cool Jew is again in Amazon's top ten bestseller's list for humor religion books:

#9 in Books > Entertainment > Humor > Religion

Mazal tov all around!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top Ten

In the pre-Passover blur, Cool Jew is once again on the Amazon's bestseller list:

#6 in Books > Entertainment > Humor > Religion.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Seder Plates

My latest Heebster creation, a Cool Jew-inspired "seder plate" is on display at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Read all about it in the San Francisco Chronicle!

Artists reflect on the seder plate
Laura Thomas, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, April 5, 2009

When asked to reflect on Passover and put her thoughts into an artistic creation, Mildred Howard of Berkeley lined up 28 bottles of Manischewitz wine labeled with pictures of her friends and family to express values of suffering and joy shared by Jews and African Americans.

Her installation is one in a current exhibition, "New Works, Old Story: 80 artists at the Passover Table," at the Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco that's intended to nurture new insights into the Passover feast by reinterpreting its central symbol, the seder plate.

"It is our signature exhibition. We always invite a range of artists, so they are not all Jewish, and the idea is to offer a range of perspectives," said associate curator Dara Solomon.

She said the museum has done an invitational series every three to five years since 1984 and has focused on other ceremonial objects such as the menorah, Purim masks, kiddush cups and spice boxes for Havdalah. The series has been given an endowment by museum trustee Dorothy Saxe of Menlo Park, an avid collector of contemporary craft.

Passover marks the flight of the Israelites from Egypt across the desert and the parting of the Red Sea to allow them to escape the Pharaoh. The celebration recalls the event and allows Jews to reflect on its contemporary meaning.

It centers on a dinner completed in ritualistic fashion with symbolic foods and readings from the Haggadah, a book of songs, prayers and verses, and is the most widely celebrated by Jews.

Despite its basic structure - seder means "order" in Hebrew - it can get disorderly. "There's always an argument about how it was done in your family," said Connie Wolf, museum director.

Nonetheless, the seder plate remains a universal feature and each family usually has one plate, an heirloom or contemporary version that is the meal's centerpiece, she said.

With an obvious functional focus for artists working in the now-converging fields of craft, design and fine art, the exhibition offers an eclectic commentary in objects fashioned from recycled goods, textiles, ceramics, wood, glass and plastic.

Some, like Howard's, don't have anything to do with plates, but the spirit of recalling Passover is there.
An artistic turn

San Francisco artist Liz Mamorsky created the "Lazy Daisy Seder Plate" on a lazy Susan concept with casting components scrounged at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

"Everything I read of seder plates conveyed the notion of movement - passing over," she said.

With wheels on the bottom tier, it can swivel. "Now my plate can truly rock and roll," she said.

Deborah Lozier of Oakland chose to concentrate on the symbolic foods of the Passover feast, making separate objects, exquisite in their detailing, of the apple, romaine lettuce, egg, red beet, parsley and orange in etched copper and vitreous enamel.

Following a Jewish tendency toward humor and irreverence, Lisa Alcalay Klug made a plate from CDs of Passover songs from different eras topped by a glittering disco ball, commenting that she was trying for a "Heebster" aesthetic. (more)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's Almost Passover

Hankering for a new kind of charoset? You can learn more about Sephardi traditional dishes for Passover at this week's post to Tolerant Nation.

Hear from another Ashkefardi with a love of her family's culinary tradition and try out some delicious Sephardi tastes for the holiday.

Chag Pesach Sameach * U'moadim L'Simcha * Pesach Alegre * Buona Pasqua * Bonne Paque * Gut Yontif * Have a Wonderful Passover! * Rock It Out, Heebsters! *

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oprah Radio

Big news on the Spring Tour!

Yours truly spoke with Dr. Maya Angelou on Oprah Radio. You can hear a clip right here in a special section called "Knowing Your Heritage." I'm honored!

Stay tuned for more programs on Shalom TV and Connie Martinson Talks Books!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mazal tov!

Congratulations to the winner of Modern Tribe and Cool Jew's Hip Hop Seder Box rockin' Passover Giveaway, Maya Grushansky of Los Angeles.

As her winnings, Maya receives The Hip Hop Seder Box, featuring

* Cool Jew
* Moses Action Figure
* So Called Seder Hip Hop Hagaddah CD
* Zelda’s Marshmallow Kosher for Passover Chocolate-Covered Frog

Mazal tov all around!!!!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. Stay tuned for more chances to win in our upcoming Mother's Day and Shavuot Giveaways.

Meanwhile, have a very happy Passover and an awesome Hip Hop Seder. And who ever you are, and where ever you may roam, remember, it's cool to be Jew.

Rock on, Heebsters!