The Book of Job: The Williamsburg Version

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One of my favorite things about being a full-time professional Jew is that you, our clientele, kind of view Judaism as a public service. Rather than thinking, “What does this millenia-old tradition have to do with me?”, every day we get letters from people who ask, “What can this millenia-old tradition do for me?”

Or, in a really roundabout way, it’s like made-to-order Judaism. Taking people, taking Judaism, and seeing where the two intertwine.

That’s one of the reasons I’m so fond of my extra-curricular activity, G-dcast, where we record rock stars and TV producers and furniture designers telling what they learn from the weekly Torah portion. And why I love things like the mash-up 10 Things I Hate about Commandments, which recontextualizes the Exodus story as a high-school rivalry.

Okay, so making a hipster version of the Book of Job is a bit more adult than casting Moses as the new kid in town. And practically all the jokes are inside jokes. But it’s a pretty big “inside,” and Job seems natural to be adapted by the Williamsburg generation: its moral ambiguity, its depression, its positivity in the face of depression, and — perhaps most importantly for this target audience — its meta-textuality.

This video kind of embraces the story on every level. Of course, the final scene — that big party where everyone is invited — doesn’t exactly happen in the story of Job, but is nonetheless requisite for the genre. And then Abraham Lincoln keeps showing up. This doesn’t make sense either, but it does seem to fit thematically.

Posted on August 25, 2009

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