Amazon sells just about everything. You can buy a T-shirt that says “Jewish and Loving It.” The design includes tzitzit, one on either side of the shirt. These tzitzit do not dangle; they are merely a graphic. While I saw no reviews of the product, I wondered if this t-shirt was offensive or if I was “loving it”?

Torah at Parshat Ki Tetzaveh requires wearing tzitzit, fringes, on the four corners of our garments. Today, the most accessible place to buy tzitzit is Amazon. You can purchase white or blue tzitzit, undershirts with tzitzit, and clip-on tzitzit. I kept looking to see if there were tzitzit that changed color with your mood. However, Amazon offers a plastic device to keep Tzitzit from getting tangled in the laundry. And then there was the t-shirt that says, “My relationship with God comes with strings attached.”

I thought about how being Jewish has become “cool” recently. The New York Times reports that Hava Nagila is frequently played at ballparks to nightclubs. Hipster chic includes wide-brimmed black hats. The Black-Eyed Peas sang “mazel tov” in the refrain of their hit song “I Gotta Feeling.” And now graphic depictions of tzitzit are emblazoned on t-shirts sold on Amazon.

Perhaps, Judaism should be the antidote to hip. After all, Tzitzit are not shabby chic. Instead, they are reminders that Judaism is aspirational. Jewish rituals, and the trimmings, offer an escape from the raggedness of this world. Tzitzit are reminders of our connection to God and God’s commandments. Judaism proposes big ideas to the world about freedom, the dignity of everyone, and the role of Godliness in our lives.

Maybe I am too sensitive. Or am I being too dogmatic? After all, Judaism mandates that we connect with joy. In Deuteronomy 28, we learn to serve God with joy. Some of that pleasure comes from sarcasm and can be found on Amazon.

Perhaps humor is the way to draw more people to Jewish practices. Tzitzit aren’t only for orthodox men.  And loving Judaism isn’t reserved for those with a sense of humor. Ultimately, we might need to overlook some humorous jabs at Judaism. First, I’ll focus on the fact that I’m Jewish, and I am “loving it!”

Rabbi Evan J. Krame