15 Questions for Joshua Neuman
By SCOOP A. WASSERSTEIN, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Joshua Neuman, the publisher of Heeb Magazine: The New Jew Review, spoke to the Harvard Hillel on Tuesday and returned a little bit of hipster to the Jews of Harvard after a stint at the Divinity School. His brainchild is an irreverent quarterly devoted to “the unconventional, non-payis wearing, middle finger to the Hebrew School teacher, motorcycle riding, non-doctor, non-lawyer, bacon cheeseburger eating, rock-and-roll loving, crazy Jew”—or so someone on The New York Times letters page would have it. Neuman knows everything there is to know about Jewish gigolos, his status as a gay icon and a language he likes to call “Heebonics. “
1. Why did you call your magazine Heeb?
“Jew Bastard” seemed a little cliché and some skinheads down in Baton Rouge already trademarked “Kike.”
2. Who is currently the sexiest Jew alive?
Sarah Silverman, no doubt. She’s actually doing porn reviews for us in our winter issue.
3. Who is the sexiest historical Jew? Why?
I would have to say the prophet Ezekiel. He was said to have had buns of steel.
4. Your magazine celebrates the career of Al Goldstein in your second issue. Did you get any free Screw merchandise?
No. But we get the most random shit sent to us. Albums from Jewish rappers, children’s books about the Holocaust, bottles of kosher wine…
5. Following the well thought-out reasoning of the Breakin’ movies, you suggest settling the Israel/Palestine conflict with a dance-off. Should that be unsuccessful, what is your plan B?
I think Sharon and Arafat should be given a complete beauty makeover because they’ll never be able to love each other until they learn to love themselves.
6. In an interview with the Village Voice, Jennifer Bleyer said that your magazine could find a Jewish connection to any topic. What is the Jewish connection to quesadillas?
American Jews: Bagel pizzas :: Mexican Jews : Quesadillas.
7. Does Shai Shahar, the notorious gigolo you profiled, give you more pride in the Jews?
If by “pride” you mean that warm, tingly feeling, yes.
8. How did you break your fast?
Fast? What do you think I am, some sort of religious fanatic?
9. You had an article on the various types of Jewess, featuring big-nosed, dark-skinned, nerdy, hairy and zaftig. Which is your favorite?
Although I am, in fact, straight, as a gay icon, I care about my admirers too much to destroy their fantasies by discussing my sexual predilections.
10. Throughout history, there have been allegations of a secret Jewish conspiracy to control the world. As a Jew, why aren’t I invited to the meetings?
The next meeting is on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 9 p.m. at Venu at 100 Warrenton Street. You’re invited, but keep it on the down-low, okay?
11. Whatever happened to Art Garfunkel?
He sank into a deep depression after he was edited out of the Jewfro spread in Heeb Magazine’s premiere issue.
12. Your magazine calls Joseph Lieberman “a dickhead.” Please elucidate.
Okay, he’s a circumcised dickhead.
13. For the non-hipsters in our audience, what are Heebonics and what are some examples?
Heebonics are Jewish words that have become part of the American vernacular. Words like kvetch, shmuck and ventriloquism. There’s a big controversy as to whether the American government should support the heebonics being taught in inner-city public schools in order that underprivileged minorities get the tools they need to succeed in business.
14. Your magazine editorializes against Bush. Who does Heeb support in 2004?
We’re still waiting for Grandpa Al Lewis to throw his hat into the ring.
15. What have been the most interesting or funniest reactions to the issues that have come out so far?
One person screamed: Yahtzee! Frankly, that startled me.