Friday, April 22, 2011

A Plug for Jew in the City (by a Mayim Bialik Fan)

One of the most intriguing, creative and successful Jewish websites that I know is Jew in the City. It is the brainchild of a bright, eloquent woman named Allison Joseph who, with style and humor, sensitivity and common sense breaks down stereotypes about Orthodox Judaism, and conveys the Torah's message on a plethora of issues in a manner that can be appreciated by a broad, sophisticated audience. Her undertaking is best represented by the videos she produces, to which I always look forward. Overall, Jew in the City is a real קידוש השם.
[I won't say that I agree with everything she says, and I've told her as much. However, it would be churlish to be picayune in the face of a really impressive and successful enterprise such as this. We, self apppointed, cognoscenti often miss the point, and the boat by raising our eyebrows and rolling our eyes. היכה ארץ בשבט פיו is reserved for the Messiah וד"ל.]

One of the most intriguing, creative and successful Jewish personalities today is, IMHO, Mayim Bialik. (Full disclosure: I am a Mayim Bialik fan who used to watch Blossom reruns and now watches [בזמן שלא מן היום ולא מן הלילה] The Big Bang Theory.) Mayim, over time, has been on a path toward a life of Shemirat Mitzvot, in an ambiance that is very often, extremely hostile (note the vicissitudes of Steven Hill. I've had my own, up close and personal experiences with Hollywood et al along similar lines.). She has, however, pulled it off with aplomb, sensitivity, enthusiasm and a disarming lack of self-consciousness. In a world wherein Orthodoxy is increasingly under severe criticism and disdain, Mayim Bialik represents another, first rate, קידוש השם.

You may wonder where I'm going with this. Well, before Pesach I received an invitation to attend a fundraiser on behalf of Jew in the City, which will feature Mayim Bialik (details here). It seems that Ms. Joseph is Dr. Bialik's ongoing חברותא. Anyway, though I rarely endorse causes (aside from Modern Orthodoxy generally) or businesses (aside from Deluxe Kosher Tours), I'm making an unsolicited exception here.

I think it would be a great, and enjoyable mitzvah to support Jew in the City by either attending the parlor meeting with Mayim Bialik (or by supporting it with a donation, which allows an online link to the proceedings, so they say). The Rambam bemoans the inability of rabbis and preachers to convey the message of Torah in a manner that demands the attention, assent and (hopefully) consent of their listeners. Jew in the City does that, ודי לחכימא. [Click HERE for information.]

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