Meet 2012’s Great Schlep

Week-old website offers 1,300 “Yiddish Curses for Republican Jews"

08/31/12
Staff Writer
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Sure, the Great Schlep --  the 2008 video urging young Jews to visit their grandparents in Florida to convince them to vote for then-candidate Barack Obama -- had live action, and Sarah Silverman’s star power.

Then again, YiddishCursesForRepublicanJews.com is likewise an internet phenomenon. Since the website went up last Thursday, it’s generated more than 1,300 curses while attracting more than 4.5 million page views and 350,000 visitors. Also like the Schlep, it’s raising money for Obama and bringing the Jewish generations together.

“The intention has been to effect some kind of political discourse within families, hopefully for the better,” said Ben Abramowitz, a marketing expert who with his wife, comedy writer Rachel Shukert, conceived of and created the site. 

The site was born out of disappointment with friends and family who believe what Shukert says is “misinformation” about the president, namely that he’s anti-Israel, said Shukert, 31, the author most recently of “Everything Is Going To Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour.”

“It makes me upset to see them demonize the president in a way that has no basis in what he’s said or done. I find it embarrassing,“ she said. “Ben was shaving, I was standing outside the bathroom wailing about all this, and the site came out of that.”

Next to the “Submit a curse,“ button, it includes a “Donate to a mensch” link to an “Obama for America” page at which a user can contribute to the campaign.

The Yiddish curse -- in English, of course -- is ideal for countering what Abramowitz sees as Republican dishonesty, he said.

“The Republicans are very good at double-speak, and to me the Yiddish curse is the perfect pushback for that, it captures that absurdist point of view,” said Abramovitz, 35.

“There’s no better curse you can give to someone than I hope it all comes true for you,” Shukert added.

“May you gain more wealth than Rupert Murdoch and spend it all on urologists,” said Abramowitz, quoting one of the site’s most popular curses, written, he said, by a Muslim-American girl.

“May you grow so rich that your widow’s second husband is thrilled that they repealed the estate tax,” is another.

Some Yiddishists -- lovers of the language that reached its peak number of speakers before World War II -- might quarrel with the site.

“Um, hate to break it to you, but these are English curses, not Yiddish. Yiddish is a language, not a “style,“ sniffed one such, @yumtacos, on Twitter.

And the Republicans! Don’t get them started.

There was some back and forth between the site and the Republican Jewish Coalition, also on Twitter, in which Yiddish Curses tweeted, “There’s a difference between hostility to towards Israel & being genuinely concerned about fools like Bibi & Barak.“

The Republican Jewish Coalition couldn’t be reached for official comment, and the National Jewish Democratic Council declined to comment, but Shukert says the site is articulating the feelings of a “silent majority” and that makes her happy.

"It's official," tweeted @fraadesy15, “[Yiddish Curses for Republican Jews]  is going to make this Thanksgiving the best one yet.”

What’s more, Abramowitz is planning to use the video directing and editing skills he uses in his marketing job to put films up on the site.

Maybe it’ll be 2012’s Great Schlep, yet.

helenatjewishweek@gmail.com; @thesimplechild

Last Update:

09/04/2012 - 14:30

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