There’s been a phenomenon barrelling up and down the tubes of the Jewish internets which plays to the one of the great traditions in our communal life: the giving and receiving of awards. Most prominent of these is the Jewish Community Heroes Campaign organized by our friends at the United Jewish Communities. This is really a great program and you should go and vote before the deadline on October 8.
That said, the more I think about it, the more I think that in addition to celebrating our heroes — the do-gooders and activists, we should also take a moment to recognize our Jewish anti-heroes. For those unfamiliar with the term let me stress that anti-heroes are not villains. There are no gangsters or bad guys on this list. Every one of them has made important contributions to the arts, culture, politics or society. And yet, they are too obviously flawed to be heroic. Still, to varying degrees (Franz Kafka more than Amy Winehouse) we honor their accomplishments which are inseparable from their flaws.
This is my list. It is arbirtrary and scattershot. You are welcome to suggest your own Jewish Anti-Hero. Unlike the UJC’s campaign, I do not have $25,000 to give to the winner or their designated organization. And while the Jewish Heroes Campaign reminds us that there are many ways to serve our community, it is also a reminder that those outsiders, who sometimes find themselves apart from community, have much to contribute as well.
Updated: For some reason I can’t get the PollDaddy widget to display the replies for “Other.” So I’ll periodically add them below. Feel free to vote for them as well.
Daniel Sieradski net-roots nominee (3)
Larry David – comedian, millionaire schlub, misanthrope (2)
Walter Sobchak -technically inelligible since he is a fictional character (2)
Woody Allen, director, asshole, Polanski apologist
Heinrich Heine – romantic poet, apostate, sufferer from chronic lead poisoning
Carrie Fisher – celebrity spawn, geek sex-symbol, former addict
Amira Hass – journalist, radical, Hamas sympathizer
Meyer Lansky – never convicted of anything, former Miami Beach resident
Orly Taitz – Dentist, Lawyer, Birther
Jesus – Nice Jewish boy. Caused trouble for his parents. Needs a haircut.
Roman Polanski – artiste, bon vivant, child rapist