In 2014, three Freed Israeli friends Angry Jew, a play about an angry – but sweet – Jew who returns to the past to Russia in 1894 to drive out Cossack tuhuns. Originally Android application, the latest iteration is also available at the Apple store. The tiny hero, Mendel, is on his way to retrieving the stolen religious books – kicking and twisting the legs of the sickle villains as he shouts “Goyim!” “Dreck!” “Gevald!” or “Sheigetz!” with a thick Yiddish accent, just like I do in dreams.
When Avishai De Vries presented the idea of the game to his friends from the program, Gil Elnekave and Ed Frankel, they found it funny and crazy. “It’s the perfect trick,” Elnekave thought, “but there’s no basis for making any money.” Still, he believed in the talent of his friends and was looking for a side project, so he jumped in.
The most important aspect of the game is Mendel’s appearance. Ljulja was staring, a vague round fur hat worn by Orthodox Jews and has a beard that would make Drake jealous. His hair is inky black and his nose is bulky. When I was younger, I was taught that these traits are awful – that people who look like me, who come from similar backgrounds, are not heroes, we were shy.
Jews used humor to deal with traumas in vaudeville, movies, books, and theater. But Angry Jewthe creators have not seen it in video games. “It’s another depiction of the same cave,” De Vries said. Nebbish who strikes back. He explained that it was the non-Jews who created this stereotype, “so I will take power over it.”
In my case, the stereotype was drilled for me after my parents moved my family from Niskayuna, New York, where there were a lot of Jews, to Voorheesville, New York, where I was singled out as the only Semite in fifth grade. During the 90s (and every other era) children were (are) hella evil. I’m getting super defensive about normalizing “locker room conversations” (I see you Trump) because I know how racist, homophobic, sexist, Islamophobic they are, i it is anti-Semitic. In high school, I was bothered by cents. I once watched a schoolmate place a quarter between his thumb and ring finger and jerk. The coin turned down the hall, sinking into my eyebrow, leaving a scar.
My family is a typical Jewish immigrant story. My grandfather traveled to America from Poland in the early 1900s to avoid pogroms and the rise of anti-Semitism. In New York, he switched from waste to his own wallpaper store, which was taken over by my father. After my bar mitzvah, I became a boy, grabbing cans of paint, slapping price tags and dusting shelves.
Deitcher’s Wallpaper Out commercials sporadically aired on local TV stations. My peers trailed after me in the high school hallways, mocking my father’s nasal voice from the ad: “Come to Deitch’s wallpaper. We will not be resold. “I despised the children who attacked me, but I also loathed my family, questioning how we made our way to white, Christian America. Even though my father worked a 60-hour work week, I still felt like we didn’t deserve our success.
I tried to fight back, but I couldn’t figure out how to deliver the blow my opponent felt. By 11th grade, I came up with a new way of surviving: mocking myself before others could. I rushed for the coins in the hallway. I called myself the Hebrew Hammer (years before the movie), Kike the Killer, and the Jewish Jaggernaut, and they were all funny because I was skinny beans.
After graduating from high school, I accepted that I was tied to my legacy. I even studied it in the lower town – while I got drunk at night and went in and out of detoxification. There were many Mendels who protected me through those years, many Mendels who helped me recover after I sobered up at 25. They fed me Sabac dinners. He studied the Torah with me. He taught me to wrap tefillin.