Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Jewish Pop Culture

Liz's recent post on Chanukkah got me thinking about Jewish popular culture. Long, long gone are the days when an entertainer would change his name from Issur Danielovitch to Kirk Douglas. Gone, too, are the days when parents like mine would sit shiva for their gentile-marrying daughter.

I was one of exactly three Jewish kids in my high school graduating class. I wound up explaining a lot about Judaism and Jewish holidays to my classmates. My youngest sister, who is 10 years my junior, didn't really have to do so much explaining, and I think it's because the last 10 years or so has seen a sea change in Judaism in pop culture at large. People can't help being more Jewish culturally literate, because Jewish culture is everywhere you look.

It seems like I can't turn on the TV or radio or go to the bookstore without seeing, hearing, or reading about Seth Cohen's Chrismukkah exploits on The O.C., magazines like Heeb (for snarky hipsters -- potentially a non-worksafe link, folks), Guilt and Pleasure (for far more earnest & thoughtful hipsters), and J-Vibe (for teens), books like Bar Mitzvah Disco and music like explicitly Jewish hip hop from artists like M.O.T. (Member of the Tribe), featuring my Bat Mitzvah instructor, Hillel Tigay (now known as Ice Berg -- hee!) and indie rock band The LeeVees, who now have a well-received Chanukkah album out.

Also of interest is The Reboot Network (members of whom wrote Bar Mitzvah Disco and which publishes Guilt and Pleasure), a non-profit which is "committed to creating opportunities for our peers to gather, to engage, to question and to self-organize with their own networks, in their own way, in their own time -- via local Salons, Guilt & Pleasure: the Reboot Journal, and other products like Reboot Records, Reboot Films and Reboot Books."

Reboot's recent poll, OMG!: How Generation Y is Redefining Faith in the iPod Era, looks like a must read for all GenY-serving librarians.


  • At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good post. You should check out Rob Bloom's humor article about his Gentile Tivo. Very funny. On www.robbloom.com


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