Issue 5 - Summer 2007 - The Healthy Issue
Featured Contributors
"I Am Iron Man" and "Don't Put Saliva in Your Eyes"
In this issue, Eddy Portnoy resurrects Polish strongman Zishe “Iron King” Breitbart (“I Am Iron Man”). He also milks sixteenth-century health tips from the ever-useful Shulchan Arukh (“Don’t Put Saliva in Your Eyes”). By day, Eddy is a historian of Jewish popular culture. By night, he runs an illegal Jewish text distillery.
Josh Kun (“Slouch”) is a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, where he is also the director of the Popular Music Project at the Norman Lear Center. He is the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America (UC Press) and a contributor to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Tu Ciudad Los Angeles. He is currently writing, with Roger Bennett, And You Shall Know Us by the Trail of Our Vinyl: Four Thousand LPs and the Search for the Jewish Past.
"The Jew, the Pelican, and the Nazi"
Howard Jacobson almost becomes the answer to a country doctor’s prayers in “The Jew, the Pelican, and the Nazi.” Jacobson is the author of nine novels, including the award-winning The Mighty Walzer and Kalooki Nights, just published in America by Simon and Schuster. He has also written four books of non-fiction and is a columnist for The Independent.
"Chez l'arabe"
Mireille Silcoff (“Chez l’arabe”) is the founding editor of Guilt & Pleasure Quarterly. Her most recent book is a collection of her illustrated National Post columns, Archetypes (McClelland & Stewart). She lives in Montreal.
"How I See"
Joshua Wolf Shenk (“How I See”) is Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College and the author of Lincoln’s Melancholy, which was called a best book of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Shenk’s work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, and in the national bestseller Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, edited by Nell Casey.
Etgar Keret’s story “Bubbles” was originally written in Hebrew. He has published four books of short stories, one novella, three books of comics and a children's book, which have received international acclaim and been translated into over twenty languages. His most recent story collection, The Nimrod Flipout (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), was chosen as one of the top twenty-five fiction books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, and as one of the ten best books of 2006 by The Boston Phoenix.
"Oh, the Trouble I've Heard"
Besides being everyone’s confidant (“Oh, the Trouble I’ve Heard”), David Rakoff is the author of the books Fraud (Broadway 2002) and Don’t Get Too Comfortable (Broadway 2006).
"Hello, Cleveland! Hello? Are You There? I Can't Hear You ...."

Writer, musician, and professional air guitarist Dan Crane talks about hearing loss in “Hello, Cleveland! Hello? Are You There? I Can’t Hear You ....” He is the author of To Air is Human: One Man’s Quest to Become the World’s Greatest Air Guitarist and co-star of the award-winning documentary Air Guitar Nation. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, Esquire, and Blender.

Click here to listen to our podcast featuring Dan Crane

"Oh, My Head"
Lisa Levy is a writer in Brooklyn who has been a member of the migraine “club” since 2003 (“Oh, My Head”). Her first book, a cultural history of biography since Freud, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She dedicates her essay to the hardworking staff of the Headache Institute, who can be reached at 1-877-OMYHEAD.
"To Life"
Gregor Ehrlich (“To Life”) is East Coast born and bred, but he currently lives and works in San Francisco with his wife and infant son, who is extremely cute. You can see some more things he has done at
"Hang Ten for ha-Shem "
Stacy Perman hit the beach in Malibu for this issue’s profile of Nachum Shifren, a.k.a. the Surfing Rabbi (“Hang Ten for ha-Shem”). Born in Los Angeles and now essentially beached in Brooklyn, she has lived in Germany, Japan, and Israel. A former writer with Time magazine, her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Sports Illustrated Women, and The Wall Street Journal. Currently a writer at BusinessWeek, she is the author of Spies, Inc.: Business Innovation from Israel’s Masters of Espionage (Prentice Hall/Financial Times), and the forthcoming The Burger Cult, to be published by HarperCollins in 2008.
"Weekend Warriors"
Jamie Glassman is a writer and actor living in London, where he is a mediocre goalkeeper for the Veras, a soccer team (“Weekend Warriors”). He wrote and co-produced HBO’s Da Ali G Show, for which he was nominated for an Emmy. He is currently producing a sketch show for U.K. television and consulting on a movie for Universal Pictures. Everything he knows about life he learned from following Everton Football Club, 1986–87 League Champions.
"Worry Less, Eat More"
David Sax is a journalist from Toronto. He has written for the likes of Rolling Stone, GQ, Condé Nast Traveler, and The New Republic. Currently he is writing a book on the demise of the delicatessen, which he hopes to resurrect through his blog He writes about his efforts in “Worry Less, Eat More.” David is also serving as the subject of a groundbreaking study on the health benefits of a schmaltz-heavy diet (which is low in trans fat but high in tsuris).
"Chai of the Tiger"
Mark Schwartz is a writer and editor fascinated equally by Jewish and Latino cultures. He fittingly divides his time between Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and the Catskills. You can read his ongoing research into Hispano-Semitic confluence on the very occasionally updated In this issue, he turns his attention to Abir, the ancestral martial art of the Israelites, in “Chai of the Tiger.”
"Deconstructing Deborah"
Emily Gould gets to know her yoga teacher better in “Deconstructing Deborah.” Emily works to keep deskbound people everywhere entertained as an editor of and is the co-author with Zareen Jaffery of Hex Education, a young adult novel about how annoying it is to be a witch when your dad is a horror movie director and you would really prefer to wear pastels and be normal. The book may sound lightweight, but since Emily is a Jew and Zareen is a Muslim, it is actually an artifact of an important cultural rapprochement, and also a fun way to spend half an hour.
"Assorted Nuts"
David Matthews (“Assorted Nuts”) is a writer living in Brooklyn. He grew up in Baltimore City and stopped by several universities without managing to collect any degrees, certifications, or awards. He has appeared on CNN, CBS Sunday Morning, Tavis Smiley, and BET discussing matters of race and American culture. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Radar, and Salon. His first book, Ace of Spades, was published this year. Its follow-up, Brother Superior — a swashbuckling true story of international crime, espionage, violence, and redemption — will drop sometime in 2009.
"Funny, You Don't Look Healthy"
For this issue, Todd Hasak-Lowy sat down with Mitchell B. Hart to discuss the healthy Jew, a distant relative of the sickly Jew we know and love (“Funny, You Don’t Look Healthy”). Hasak-Lowy teaches modern Hebrew literature at the University of Florida and is the author of the short story collection The Task of This Translator (Harvest Books, 2005).
"Allen Ginsberg's Muse Revealed"
Jillian Tamaki’s illustration ("Allen Ginsberg's Muse Revealed") is the inaugural offering for our new back page feature. She is a Canadian illustrator currently living and working in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, ESPN, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She is working on her first graphic novel, to be published next year.