Hartford, CT, USA, January 19, 2011—Journalist and author Joel Samberg, whose last book was called “Grandpa Had a Long One,” is the writer behind “License to Kvell,” a one-month-old humor/commentary blog with a Jewish twist. The blog, which appears most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at http://LicenseToKvell.blogspot.com, has been called ‘a kosher breath of fresh air’ in the pantheon of Jewish-oriented journalism. It has also been called an occasional ‘non-kosher breath of satire’ because of its occasional irreverence.
In “License to Kvell,” Samberg covers a wide variety of topics three times a week, most often with a combined emphasis on making fun of and being proud of the Jewish faith, its customs, people, history and heritage. As many people know, kvell is a Yiddish word meaning to be enormously proud of something. The new blog has already been featured in several newspaper and magazine articles, linked from many other websites, and generated many positive comments from readers around the world.
“It won’t always be funny, and it won’t always be strictly about things Jewish, but hopefully it will always be a good diversion, and sometimes even thought-provoking,” Samberg says. “This blog won’t save Judaism for a continuing run of at least another five thousand years, but it will make it a little more fun and interesting to be part of the extended family as we all try to move forward, as Jews and as Americans.”
“License to Kvell” might be an idea long overdue, particularly in light of Judaism’s ongoing struggles in an increasingly disparate and challenging international community.
“In its first week alone there were columns about why Joel’s mother almost plotzed when she saw a cake his wife had made, and another about how Barbra Streisand almost ruined his childhood. So as far as Jewish-oriented discussions are concerned, it’s obvious that this one is a kosher breath of fresh air,” says Marc Feingold, a music business executive from New Jersey who was one of the blog’s first regular readers.
“The column proposing a Jewish reality show called ‘Jew Swap’ actually made use of the good old-fashioned comic connections between Jews and Chinese food,” adds Irene Levine, a teacher from Long Island, another new fan. “So I’m sure it’s also going to be a somewhat non-kosher breath of satire from time to time.”
Since its debut on January 3, 2011, “License to Kvell” has also discussed future Jews in outer space, Jewish ‘snowflakes,’ the author’s mixed-blessing memories of Hebrew school, and more.
Samberg is the author of “The Jewish Book of Lists” (Citadel/Kensington, 1998), “Reel Jewish: A Century of Jewish Movies” (Jonathan David, 2000) and “Grandpa Had a Long One: Personal Notes on the Life, Career & Legacy of Benny Bell” (BearManor Media, 2009), which was a biography of his grandfather, a noted novelty singer and songwriter. Samberg’s articles, columns and essays have appeared in Hartford Magazine, New Jersey Monthly, The Connecticut Jewish Ledger, Moment Magazine, the New York Daily News, Dramatics Magazine and dozens of other publications. His series of short plays, “Six Tens from a Fifty,” was performed by the Love Creek Theatre Company in Manhattan in 2007. In addition to writing books and articles, he is also business communications consultant. Joel lives in Connecticut with his wife, Bonnie, with whom he has three grown children.
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