David Abitbol, Jewlicious.com Founder, is profiled in today’s the Jerusalem Post. Sporting a Jewlicious Fest t-shirt, and a grin, Abitbol’s love of the Jewish world and his desire to help shape the Jewish world of the New Millennium, come through loud and clear. Except for some small factual info about the Festival (Rachel’ dreams she had a Hillel House in LBC, instead of a tiny cramped office at the JCC without windows) the JPost deserves a big Yashar Koach!
Back in the early days of the new millennium, the “cool Jew” movement was just warming up, thanks to ironic, self-deferential, post-traditional brands like Heeb magazine, JDub Records’s flagship recording artist Matisyahu, a big-screen release called The Hebrew Hammer and the Jewcy line of cheeky apparel. The elder generation decried the movement’s rejection of dogma, but mainstream pop culture was amplifying the buzz, and Jews in their early 20s were finding new tongue-in-cheek ways to express their cultural identity.
Smack in the middle of the generational gap was Montreal-based web designer David Abitbol. He was both excited and turned off by the trend. “At the time, in order to be a ‘cool Jew,’ ” he says, “you had to be dismissive of traditional Judaism and unduly critical of Israel.” Now an uncool 43, and enjoying an iced coffee at a downtown Jerusalem bar, David continues to nurture his concept of a Jew who is “edgy” but who has deeper knowledge and love of his or her heritage and Jewish nationalism.