The 9 best Jewish pop culture moments of 5775

Jewish rapper Lil Dicky (seen in this image parodying the cover of Drake’s album “Nothing Was the Same”) released his debut album this summer. (YouTube) This year, as always, Jews contributed to the worlds of art, music, literature, film, television, comedy — and even Instagram modeling. Here are some of the moments that made members of the tribe stand out in the increasingly bizarre, fast-paced whirlwind of American pop culture. 1. Jon Stewart’s montage of his Jewish moments on “The Daily Show” Chuck Schumer made a surprise appearance on “The Daily Show” as Jon Stewart looked back at his Jewish moments as host on July 23, 2015. (Daily Show screenshot) In July — two weeks before Jon Stewart left the show he transformed into a cultural cornerstone — Senator Chuck Schumer made a surprise appearance, prompting the comic to show a video of some of the program’s most Jewish moments (which include his pronunciation of several Yiddish phrases and his famous comparison of Easter candy to the items on a Seder plate). Warning: longtime “Daily Show” fans might get teary-eyed with nostalgia. 2. Lena Dunham’s New Yorker piece about her Jewish boyfriend — or was it her dog? Lena Dunham and boyfriend Jack Antonoff, guitarist for the band Fun!, attending the “Girls” season four series premiere after party at The Museum of Natural History in New York City on January 5, 2015. (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images) Among her many talents, Lena Dunham, the Jewish creator of HBO’s “Girls,” can safely count a knack for offending large numbers of people. In March, Dunham penned “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” a humor piece in the New Yorker that jokingly compared the two subjects in its title. We don’t know if her real-life Jewish boyfriend (Fun! guitarist Jack Antonoff) was offended, but several Jews (and non-Jews) took issue with the piece, citing old stereotypes that perniciously compared Jews to dogs. 3. Matisyahu playing at a festival he was disinvited from Matisyahu performing at the opening ceremony of the European Maccabi Games on July 28, 2015, in Berlin. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Matisyahu may no longer sport a large beard or be affiliated with the Chabad movement, but his Jewishness was front and center once again this August. European BDS protestors successfully forced a Spanish festival to disinvite him from playing for his refusal to declare his support for a Palestinian state. After a wave of public backlash to the decision, Matisyahu was eventually invited back and defiantly played the song “Jerusalem” in front of a crowd that flew Palestinian flags. “Let music be your flag,” he said during his set. 4. Lil Dicky climbs the Billboard charts Rapper David Burd, also known as Lil Dicky, frequently references his Jewishness. (Wikimedia Commons) From the Beastie Boys to Drake, the music industry has seen its share of Jewish rappers. But none have tackled the humor of white (and Jewish) suburban America quite like David Burd, AKA Lil Dicky. After creating a series of music videos with millions of views, Burd, a former advertising writer, released a full album, “Professional Rapper,” in July.  Featuring the likes of Snoop Dogg, T-Pain and comedian Hannibal Burress, the album peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart — and hints that Lil Dicky’s ambition in the industry goes far beyond white-boy comedy. 5. Black Lives Matter activists interrupt Bernie Sanders — and cause a social media sensation Marissa Johnson, left, Mara Jacqueline Willaford taking over the microphone at a Bernie Sanders rally in Seattle on August 8, 2015. (Elaine Thompson/AP Images) Bernie Sanders, the only Jewish, 73-year-old from Brooklyn in the 2016 presidential race, has drawn record rally crowds all summer. But on August 8, two activists who claimed to be affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement interrupted Sanders’ rally in Seattle, taking over the microphone from the Vermont senator. The incident reverberated through social media for several days and brought the movement’s racial message back into the spotlight. 6. JDate sues over the letter “J” David Yarus, the founder of JSwipe, circulated a letter calling for support to fight JDate’s lawsuit. (Facebook) Item number six is brought to you by the letter “J.” After a successful rise in the Jewish dating game, matchmaking app JSwipe was sued by older (and larger) competitor JDate for its usage of the letter “J.” Though the suit began in fall of last year, the case stayed under wraps until this summer when a Forbes writer unearthed it for the public, and causing a wave of ridicule and commentary. JDate also claimed to own the patent to the matching technology used by a host of other dating apps. 7. Amy and Chuck team up for gun control U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York joins his cousin, comedian Amy Schumer, to launch a campaign for gun control. (Screenshot: YouTube) Comedian Amy Schumer found herself involved in the gun control debate in the wake of a violent shooting at a Louisiana theater that was showing her movie “Trainwreck.”(This happened just weeks after her childhood rabbi called her a “sweet, funny kid, who often asked probing and humorous questions” at Hebrew school.) Senator Chuck Schumer, her second cousin once removed, joined her in launching a campaign for gun control shortly after the shooting in late July. 8. Cindy’s conversion on “Orange is the New Black” Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore), left, and Flaca (Jackie Cruz) in “Orange Is the New Black.” (Courtesy of Netflix) In a year filled with big Jewish TV moments — from Don Draper sitting shiva on “Mad Men” to the hilarious casting of Ilana’s Jewy parents (Bob Balaban and Susie Essman) on Comedy Central’s “Broad City” — the most memorable had to be Cindy’s growing interest in Judaism (first jokingly, then seriously), culminating with her conversion in the season finale of Netflix’s hit “Orange is the New Black.” 9. The Fat Jew’s rise — and fall The Fat Jew sipping his own brand of wine on June 1, 2015, in New York. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) It was a helluva year for Josh Ostrovsky, who calls himself The Fat Jew and has some 5.8 million Instagram followers. Ostrovsky built his reputation through a mix of comical fashion choices and the exploitation his adorable dog Toast — but also, as it turns out, through stealing other people’s jokes. After signing a book deal and developing his own wine brand, comedians and other citizens of the Internet accused him of stealing jokes without citing sources. Ostrovsky’s celebrity status took a significant hit and he lost a chance to develop a show with Comedy Central. Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed