I get, and to an extent can get behind, the magazine Heeb’s stated goal of pushing the envelope in order to redefine what it is to be a contemporary Jew. Explaining an earlier controversy, the publisher said that his magazine “interrogates stereotypes and ideas (hopefully in creative ways) that many hold sacred in order to represent the complex and nuanced perspectives that many Jews have about their identities.” If the satire occasionally borders on the offensive, that can be a price I’m willing to pay. (And certainly I wish them all the best with their rumored business troubles. Almost any place that pays writers to write gets my support.)
… But it’s really difficult to see the point of the magazine’s “take” on T. Alan Hurwitz, who is the first Jewish president of Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is a school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Washington, D.C., and Hurwitz himself is profoundly deaf. There’s probably something interesting worth saying about that; maybe there is even a provocative, counter-intuitive position on it. I would love to read a creative argument against the 1988 Deaf President Now movement (which the post cites), in which the students demanded a deaf president, perhaps analogizing it to Jewish tokenism.
But this? It feels mean, offensive, gratuitous, and—maybe worst of all—not funny.