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Guri Alfi came out with a willingness to listen to the Jews of America, and the token fell. When will this happen here? - Walla! culture

2021-04-20T08:56:11.758Z

Guri Alfi set out to understand the Jews of America with lots of good intentions. He is funny, speaks honestly, and his chemistry with the people around him is wonderful - which in itself makes the "new Jew" fun



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Guri Alfi came out with a willingness to listen to the Jews of America, and the token fell.

When will this happen here?

Guri Alfi set out to understand the Jews of America with lots of good intentions.

He is funny, speaks honestly, and his chemistry with the people around him is wonderful - which in itself makes the "new Jew" fun to watch.

However, too often the series prefers to squint into the curiosity rather than get to the root of things

Tags

  • The new Jew

  • Guri Alfi

  • TV review

Nadav Menuhin

Tuesday, 20 April 2021, 08:25 Updated: 08:39

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Promo for the series "The New Jew" with Guri Alfi (here 11)

While the Jewish wars in Israel have become so intense, there are those who repeatedly look at the second largest concentration of Jews in the world, if only to imagine another possibility. In Israel, American Jewry is most often treated with open contempt: condescending to the Reformers, warning of "assimilation" using an abusive phrase such as "silent holocaust," and there are those who roll their eyes at the liberal identification of many American Jews. However, American Jewry is thriving, diverse, influencing American discourse, starring in all branches of popular culture, and around all of this there is a slightly different Jewish life. This is what comedian Guri Alfi went out to examine in the series "The New Jew" he created for Here 11.



Alfie has already created a series of Journeys to America at the end of 2018 ("Guri's Mad Journey in America"), which aired on Rainbow. At the beginning of January 2020, just before Corona arrived in Israel (yes, it seems like four years ago for fun), a series of articles by Yonit Levy, also an amateur Americanologist, also aired on the same channel, touching on a variety of similar issues. But despite the recurring preoccupation, it seems that Israel's attitude toward American Jewry, in spite of its many streams, is still in its infancy. What is obvious to Americans - such as a Reform rabbi leading the largest community in New York, the largest Jewish city in the world - in Israel is still esoteric even for secularists, and no matter how much that rabbi, Angela Bochdel, has already been interviewed in Israeli media. Therefore, any view of American Jewry, including in the case of the "new Jew," also requires self-observation in the mirror.




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Look, a circumcised woman!

"The New Jew" (Photo: Dudi Cohen)

Even in a journey of thousands, the starting point is a bit problematic. First of all, it is worthwhile to find out what that "new Jew" is. He is of course new to Alfie, but is not really new in other respects (many of the types he interviews do not necessarily represent phenomena from recent years). According to one of the descriptions presented in the opening chapter, this is a Jew who chooses to live as a Jew, and decides for himself what is relevant and what is not in his or her Jewish identity - compared to the Israeli, also the secular, who takes his Judaism for granted and does not need to present it. This is, of course, an illusion of innovation, because the various versions of Zionist Judaism also emphasize certain Jewish values ​​as more relevant than others, and secularists in Israel are increasingly examining for themselves how to celebrate Jewish holidays and ceremonies in their own style. This is not to say that the American variant is not fascinating in itself, only that in order to understand it it is worthwhile to better understand ourselves as well, and the parts of us that are transparent to us. The real difference between the two types is of course in the variety,In the individuality and depth of the inclusion and flexibility of the laws.



However, Alfie embarked on this journey with a lot of good intentions, of those who are willing to listen - and not just be shocked.

He's funny, he's honest, his chemistry with the people around him is wonderful - whether it's skiing in Colorado or meeting the Persian community in Los Angeles - and that in itself makes the 'new Jew' fun to watch.

At the same time, too often the series prefers to squint at the curiosity (look, a circumcised woman! Tinder for the Jews!) Instead of getting to the root of things, or the jokes, in a variety of unnecessary conversations with Jewish comedians, who add very little to the discussion.

The result in the first two episodes (the first aired yesterday, the second this coming Thursday) is a kind of salad, a carnival of characters, which, while crystallizing into one central theme in each episode - is far from being exhausted.

With all good intentions, it is hard to say that Alfie is indeed able to decipher American Jewry, or the type he is trying to diagnose.

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An illusion of innovation.

"The New Jew" (Photo: Dudi Cohen)

Even if it does not resolve all tensions between Israel and the other great Jewish diaspora, the "new Jew" at least makes it clear to viewers that there are many more ways to live as Jews - and that these ways are becoming established and are here to stay.

And if that token does not fall now, it will probably fall on the next television journey to American Jewry, which will surely come soon.

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Source: walla

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