New Jewish magazine hits the news stands

September 16, 2009 by J-Wire
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Joshua Levi writes in J-Wire what drove him to publish Hebe.

About two years ago, I was sitting by myself at home on Yom Kippur playing poker online. I had qualified for the $1,000 seat in a tournament on Poker

Stars, and it didn’t even occur to me to go to shul or fast.

That was when I think I realised what I already knew: I had lost any Jewish connection I had previously had. Growing up, I frequently went to shul,

didn’t eat bread on Pesach, fasted on Yom Kippur and got excited to dress up on Purim.

Front coverI went to a Jewish school until I was 18, but by the time I was 23, the only time I saw the inside of a shul was for weddings, burgers tasted great during Pesach, Purim was just another day/night at work and poker on Yom Kippur seemed like a great idea.

The extent of my Jewish activities was a 30- minute dinner at my Hungarian grandparents every Friday night with challah and chicken soup, Rosh Hashanah lunch at the other grandparents and one Seder a year.

I realised about a year ago that there is nothing in Australia’s Jewish community that really appeals to me.

I’m a big fan of Maccabi because it brings kids together through sport. No fundraising, no Jewish agenda, no prayers–just Jewish kids having fun together. It wouldn’t matter if you had bacon and eggs for breakfast on Yom Kippur; you can still play for Maccabi.

But what if you’re not a kid anymore? Sure, I joined AUJS and got the little card with the Jewish calendar on the back and the cheap drinks at their annual pub crawl, but like so many other young Jews in Australia today, there was nothing substantively Jewish in Australia that I truly felt connected to.

Then, a friend gave me a copy of Heeb Magazine, published out of New York City. On the cover it said that it was the Goy Issue. The first article that I read was about the “secret life of shabbos goys.” I learned that Colin Powell spent so much time assisting a Jewish family in New York’s SouthBronx that he ended up fluent in Yiddish, that when Elvis Presley was alittle boy he used to help a rabbi that lived in the same apartment building as him.

I turned the page and found instructions on how to play Strip Dreidel–so simple yet so brilliant.

To be sure, I wasn’t donating money to Israel, attending a Jewish communal function or fasting on Yom Kippur, but I was finding a connection to Judaism

that was engaging me in a way I hadn’t been engaged since my childhood.

From that day onwards, I decided I wanted to bring Heeb to Australia. Today, I welcome you to the first edition of my dream.


3 Responses to “New Jewish magazine hits the news stands”
  1. shemesh says:

    This Levi sounds like a complete moron.

    His magazine won’t last 6 issues!

  2. Karen Prior says:

    There are those of us living outside of Sydney and Melbourne who would love to support Joshua Levi’s new venture. It would be good for us to know how we can do that. Many of us who love G-d and the Torah also like a laugh…

    Mazel Tov Joshua.

  3. Chaim says:

    So Joshua Levi thinks that publishing a magazine with little Jewish content is somehow a type of engagement with Jews and Judaism. If he finds this fulfilling, then good luck to him. But in what way will the magazine help to promote Jewish identification and further a love for G-d and His Torah? After all, is that the raison d’etre of Judaism and the reason for us remaining Jews?!

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