What’s Your Jew (for Jesus) #Ish?

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As part of a new marketing campaign to hit the young Jews and the unsold Jews, the Jewish Federations of North America started an outreach campaign by asking everyone in Internetland, “What’s your #ish?” Every time somebody tweets or makes a video or posts on their site, the Federations will give a donation to charity.

This morning, while taking one of our quizzes (yes, they only scored 6/7 — we’re not telling who), one of us came across a crazy little #ish ad. It looks like the Federation is targeting all sorts of Jews. Reform, Orthodox, unaffiliated — and Jews for Jesus.

Let’s take a closer look at that Google Ad box:

The #ish site says that “being Jewish means something different to everyone.” If being Jewish means being a Messianic Jew, it’s a pretty radical departure from the Jewish communal mainstream, isn’t it?

Also, that line in the ad about “tell us and we’ll give a donation” is especially vague, btw. Not that it isn’t very kind of you, Jewish Federations of North America, but whom exactly are you giving the donation to?

Two months ago, “ish” was hip-hop slang for poopy. Then the Federations reclaimed it for the purpose of casting a wide net and reeling in Jews of every sort. Now it looks like they’re casting a wider net than anyone anticipated.

UPDATE #1: The Jewish Federations of North America sent us the following statement. (2:50 P.M.)

We are investigating this unauthorized use of The Jewish Federations name and our What’s Your Ish? campaign. What’s Your Ish has raised new awareness of Jewish Federations, especially among younger Jews, and generated provocative discussion about Jewish identity. Unfortunately some may try to take advantage of the campaign’s popularity for their own purposes.

We have reached out to both Google and MyJewishLearning.com to inform them that neither the Google ad or the MyJewishLearning post has any connection whatsoever with The Jewish Federations of North America or the What’s Your Ish? campaign. We will take any appropriate action necessary to ensure that this remains clear.

UPDATE #2: JFNA replies that their own ad agency created the ad as a blunder:

We have done some more internal follow-up and learned that the erroneous Google ad was a by-product of an automated search-word process our ad agency was using to promote the initiative generally.

Hope this clears everything up . Shabbat Shalom!

Posted on July 16, 2010

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