December 8, 2010

Jesus, I Love Jews.

Top 10 Sexy, Eco, Mindful, Sexy Jews.

Confessions of a Shiksa Goddess

I can’t help it. Is it their lox and pumpernickel toast? The awesome schnozzes? That debonair air of neurotic nonchalance? I just don’t know, and at this point, I don’t care. I’ve got a thing for the chosen people, and I’ll happily admit it.

This list was about to become an unabashed giggle-fest entitled, “Confessions of a Shiksa Goddess.” Thankfully, my caffeine buzz calmed before I hit “Publish,” because I realized: wait!  Elephant’s not just about sexy stuff! We’re about The Mindful Life. So I did some research and checked out which of my favorite Jews were naughty and nice (ecologically, that is). This lead to some heartbreaking removals (see below) and made room for some new favorites.

For your enjoyment, here are some of my all-time favorite, eco, mindful, sexy Jews.

1. Alicia Silverstone – Grew up in “traditional Jewish household”…but no reubens for her. She’s a huge spokesperson for the vegan lifestyle. Her book, The Kind Diet, and ensuing blog, The Kind Life advocate adopting a vegan diet not just for the planet, but for your own wellbeing (=sexiness). Any doubts about vegan=sexy? Check out Alicia’s PETA spot, banned in Houston. Her blog also has a recent post with a vegan latke recipe!

2. Leonard Cohen — Wanna make a girl swoon? Play some Cohen. This god of a singer-songwriter croons some of the most painfully lovely songs about love, loss, and spirituality. Quebecois-born to Jewish parents, Cohen has studied Zen Buddhism extensively, and its influence is evident in many of his songs. His latest release, Live in London, proves that, like a fine wine, his voice just gets sexier with age…

3. Joaquin Phoenix — Another devilishly handsome Jew with a distinctive voice, Joaquin’s been a dedicated vegan since the age of 3 and narrated Earthlings, notoriously successful in turning people vegetarian. Phoenix has also supported a number of charity organizations, including Amnesty International.

4. Simone Weil – early 20th century French philosopher, political activist, and mystic. Born into comfortable circumstances in an agnostic Jewish family, Weil famously denied herself food for long stints several times as a sign of solidarity with the deprived working class. She wrote extensively on political and educational matters, particularly on the importance of mindfulness and memory. She won my heart with her reflections on mysticism in Gravity and Grace.

5. Jason Schwartzman – A proponent of vegetarianism, but I most love Jason for his intelligent, heartfelt rendition of a confused spiritual seeker in the existential comedy, I Heart Huckabees. If you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out! Some clips:

6. Natalie Portman – What’s sexier than brains? Portman, born in Jersualem, has outspokenly prioritized her education over her career: “I don’t care if [college] ruins my career,” she told the New York Times, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star.” She’s studied several languages and her research papers at Harvard have earned her a defined Erdos-Bacon number. Portman’s been vegetarian since childhood and went vegan in 2009 after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. She’s also a member of One Voice, a nonprofit organization and citizen activism movement working in Israel and the Palestinian territories to achieve a two-state solution through non-violent means.

7. Jon Stewart — Hilarious and deadly sharp, this court jester has turned out to be one of the sanest voices for political moderation, as demonstrated by his recent Rally to Restore Sanity. Check out some of his work here, here, and of course here.

8. Fiery actor Sean Penn is perhaps just as well known for his political activism as he is for his theatrical roles.  An outspoken critic of George W. Bush’s administration, Penn called for his impeachment and wrote an open letter calling Bush and his cohorts “villainously and criminally obscene people.” His portrayal of Harvey Milk and speeches surrounding it championed equal rights for the LGBT community: “I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone!

9. The ever-lovely Jennifer Connelly won all of our adolescent hearts in Labyrinth. Since then, she’s wrenched them open in Requiem for a Dream and (my favorite) House of Sand and Fog. While she keeps a pretty low profile, Connelly has been named Amnesty International Ambassador for Human Rights Education.

10. Leonard Nimoy (Spock in the original Star Trek series) is far more than merely rational. In 2002, he published The Shekhinah Project, a series of photographs exploring the feminine qualities of divinity, inspired by Kabbalah. It caused quite a stir since (surprise!) it’s incredibly sexy. One critic explains: “Nimoy’s fascination with the female body involves an element of temptation as well as transcendence… his female figures…signify profane and sacred love simultaneously…It is Nimoy’s ability to convey woman’s many-sidedness—Shekhina and Succubus at once—that makes his photographs profound.”

Now for the bad news.

Oh, Adrien Brody. You would have gotten two pics. Those smoldering good looks, that impeccable taste. And that nose! But, alas, my assiduous Googling has revealed that not only do you have no eco- or mindful causes to speak of, but you once owned and drove a Hummer. Why, Mr. Brody, why?

And to end things on a positive note, here’s an honorable mention, one of my favorite Jews from my own life.

You might not have heard of him yet, but just wait: Roey Rosenblith is going places. He’s always on the cutting edge of politics, eco-design, and how the two mesh. He was a fact-checker for Arianna Huffington and an intern for Obama’s campaign; he led teams in Uganda and Guatemala for the Full Belly Project, working on appropriate agricultural technology (peanut shellers have never been so cool!); founded a biodiesel fuel coop in North Carolina; and currently is back in Uganda with Village Energy, a small start-up working to install solar panels. His goal? To make Africa the first continent where the majority of the population gets their energy from renewable sources. Help them out here. This man is a force to behold, my friends!

Oh, a top ten list is too short! Who’d I miss?

Happy Hanukkah, everybody!

Adam Sandler’s Classic Chanukah (Hanukkah) Song

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