"Another jewy piece by that jewish girl/ in the poetry scene who keeps/ being all jewy, talking about being jewish, writing/ about being jewish .../ jew, jew, jew, jew, jew," is the battle cry of Vanessa Hidary, the Hebrew mamita. She is a slam poet known for her curves and for dressing like a Puerto Rican; big hoop earrings, tight jeans, hair pulled tightly back in a glistening high ponytail, great red lipstick, high heels. When I met her in New York at her favorite haunt, Starbucks, I admired her playful nom de plume, Hebrew mamita, for its mix of high-brow and low-brow culture, the former being the ancient language of Israel, the latter being the catcall that most self-respecting Puerto Rican girls cannot live without. (I am from Puerto Rico and know the catcall well: Though we hate being harassed, we also hate not being whistled at. And Jewish men do not whistle at women with curves or at all, for that matter.) Alas, Hidary has not one ounce of Puerto Rican blood in her. Does it matter?
My sister writes about the Hebrew Mamita in Tablet Magazine
One of these days my sister Bridget Kevane is going to read and write about African literature (si, tu) but until then, I really enjoyed this latest by her... the whole piece is here in Tablet Magazine: