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.)
Causes Lisa Alcalay Klug Supports
One Family Fund
San Francisco AIDS Walk