Cul­ture, roots … and beer

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS/ -

WHILE I AM al­ways happy to see He’Brew beer in print, I was dis­ap­pointed to see Ariel Leve’s lack of fol­low through (“How hip­ster are you?”, JC, De­cem­ber 22) on what is a le­git­i­mate area of in­ter­est in cur­rent Jewish (pop) cul­ture.

Few of the peo­ple or or­gan­i­sa­tions cov­ered have sug­gested that we are in­tend­ing to be “counter-cul­tural”. Most of us are try­ing to find ways to use our Jewish roots, in­ter­ests and af­fil­i­a­tions to be pos­i­tive about our in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive sense of Jewish­ness, though cer­tainly with a creative, con­tem­po­rary twist.

I also sug­gest that ir­rev­er­ence, satire and ques­tion­ing are all wellestab­lished cur­rents of Jewish tra­di­tion. There are also cer­tainly ges­tures that are sim­ply sin­cere and lack any in­tended irony. Wear­ing a funny Tshirt on its own may cer­tainly re­flect a style, but thou­sands of read­ers, writ­ers, artists, en­trepreneurs and food­ies en­gag­ing in in­ter­dis­ci­plinary Jewish cul­ture sug­gests a sub­stance which your ar­ti­cle failed to ad­dress.

To dis­miss hun­dreds of pages of Heeb, or Guilt and Plea­sure, the hours of shows, fes­ti­vals, mu­sic, com­edy and art — and of course what I hope has been the multi-lay­ered en­joy­ment by many of over two mil­lion bot­tles of He’Brew beer over the past 10 years — as merely ma­te­ri­al­is­tic con­sump­tion driven by re­li­gious obli­ga­tion misses an op­por­tu­nity for a mean­ing­ful ex­am­i­na­tion of Jewish iden­tity in our con­tem­po­rary lives.

As your Jewish mom might say, “I’m not mad, just dis­ap­pointed.” Jeremy Cowan, Pro­pri­etor, He’Brew Beer and Shmaltz Brew­ing Com­pany jeremy@he­brew­beer.com

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