Shalom Life | April 09, 2014

Breakthrough Jew - Vanessa Hidary aka "Hebrew Mamita"

This actress/director/producer/writer/spoken word performer tackles stereotypes and cultural norms with her powerful and poignant prose.

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: November 21st, 2013 in Culture » Society » News

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Vanessa Hidary

Hometown: New York City

Breakthrough Cred: Actress/Solo Performer/ Poet/Writer/Director and “Hebrew Mamita”

Growing up in the culturally diverse neighborhood of Manhattan’s Upper West Side played an integral component in shaping who poet and performer, Vanessa Hidary (a.k.a. The Hebrew Mamita) is today. Her parents, who are liberal Sephardic secular Jews, sent her to both Hebrew school and an experimental public school that was predominantly a melting pot of Latinos and African Americans. During her formative years growing up, Hidary never truly felt like she fit into a specific cultural or ethnic mold.

“It’s become more of a hotbed of Judaism in the past ten years, but I think of the Upper West Side when I grew up in it as a multicultural area. My parents came to the UWS when it was very transitional, so I felt a connection to Judaism, which led to my current career, but I was more involved in being a New Yorker and exploring the city than being a Jew and exploring Judaism. I never felt like I fit into Hebrew school because I was different, it turned me off since I never fit into that. I felt like I wasn’t the typical Jewish kid, lots of kids in my generation felt that. So it’s not that I had no connection, just that it wasn’t my only focus. I was Reform, so we celebrated the holidays but didn’t really keep Shabbat, but I did go to Hebrew school and did stuff like that,” Hidary explained in an interview.

Although she did the obligatory things like attending Hebrew school, going to Jewish camps, and having a bat mitzvah, the vast majority of her social-circle were Latinos and African American. She ardently began blurring the lines of cultural and ethnic constructs. The little Jewish girl who never felt like she truly fit in, began embracing Puerto Rican culture, not to mention the fact that she was drawn to hip hop pioneers such as KRS-One.

Find out more about Vanessa Hidary on the next page!

Shalom, Vietnam: A Jewish Culture Guide Shalom, Vietnam: A Jewish Culture Guide TrendingTV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 4 TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 4 TrendingThe Nosh Pit - Vegetarian Passover Recipes The Nosh Pit - Vegetarian Passover Recipes Trending
 

Shalom, Vietnam: A Jewish Culture Guide

April 08, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Shalom, Vietnam: A Jewish Culture Guide

Vietnam has so much to offer the traveler the options can be daunting. If one feels like a guided tour, Kosherica offers a seventeen-day tour of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Read More

Barbara Walters Announces Retirement Date, Will Leave 'The View' Next Month

April 08, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Barbara Walters Announces Retirement Date, Will Leave 'The View' Next Month

After 53 years on camera, Barbara Walters will say her final goodbyes

Read More

Neo-Nazi's Using Cookie Monster to Attract Young Children

April 08, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Neo-Nazi's Using Cookie Monster to Attract Young Children

German police recently arrested a man wearing a Cookie Monster uniform handing out neo-Nazi pamphlets to young children.

Read More

Lea Michele is Being Paid $20K to Attend Coachella

April 08, 2014 | By Ashley Ramnarain
Lea Michele is Being Paid $20K to Attend Coachella

The 'Glee' actress is one of many celebs that is receiving money to party at California's biggest music festival.

Read More

TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 4

April 08, 2014 | By Jake Horowitz
TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 4

After months of anticipation, 'Game of Thrones' is back and just as wonderful as ever.

Read More

Passover Cleaning: Kitchen, Bedroom, Western Wall

April 08, 2014 | By Graham Sigurdson
Passover Cleaning: Kitchen, Bedroom, Western Wall

Workers have been removing thousands of personal prayers from the Kotel, which will then be buried

Read More

Twitter Introduces Facebook-esque Profile Design

April 08, 2014 | By Graham Sigurdson
Twitter Introduces Facebook-esque Profile Design

The new profile design will add more information and features, and resembles Facebook's profile design quite candidly

Read More

More Headlines