The superfluous is a very necessary thing. (Voltaire)
I want to create a Jewish pop-up stall with the coolest, funniest, cheesiest, most absurd, most romantic, and also most useful Shmonzelakh (little things) available in the englishspeaking world and Israel. For a start I want to sell these things at the Festival of Jewish Learning Limmud and at the Jewish Street Festival in Vienna. Both are open to people of all faiths. If that’s a huge success, I can imagine further developments.
How did I get this idea? It’s a story of many beginnings: an exhibition about identity shopping and Jewish kitsch at the Jewish museum Hohenems; how the former Rabbi of my congregation used the word „Shmonzelakh“; but maybe the most important experience that led to the idea of Schmonzelach Un Tinef was strolling trough the shops around Christmas time, looking for something remotely Jewish to decorate my home with for Hanukkah. I found mermaids, frogs and elks – but for us Jews there’s not even a shiny glass bagel to hang somewhere. Only Stars of David and more Stars of David. Looking online, I found a world beyond Austria in which Santa Claus may hold a Dreydel, where there are plenty of colourful garlands for the Jewish holidays and where people play with matzo-juggling-balls; a world of plenty with creativity and the strangest forms of Jewish humor. However, as a private individual it’s often not possible to buy at American wholesale shops. So I knew: I have to found a company if I want to add more colour, playfulness and liveliness to the Viennese Jewish community.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
Schmonzelach Un Tinef is for everybody who longs for a diverse, open society in which fun, liveliness and creative expression of religion join hands.
Of course it’s for those who celebrate Hanukkah, Purim and general Jewish parties and who want to beautify their everyday life with suitable accessories.
But Schmonzelach un Tinef is not just for Jewish people. It’s for everyone who wants to learn or teach about Judaism from a new perspective. E.g. teachers that want to explain the maccabean uprising with chocolate figures or Christians who find that wearing Menorah socks is a visual expression of their religious roots in Judaism. Jesus was a Jew and he had a yiddishe Mame – a reason for Christians and Muslims alike to pin a Yiddishe-Mame-Magnet by haPolaniah to their refrigerator doors.
Why would you support this project?
In order to: - Finally have funny shmonzelakh at home - Not having only the most necessary items for the holidays at home, but also some superfluous ones - Associate Judaism with more than Shoah and Jesus - Help give more representation and a stronger, positive identity to a religious minority - Give the gift of laughter to yourself and others And finally, because next December, I don’t want to be again standing around sadly at Butler’s. Imagine sad puppy eyes now.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
I found a One-Person-Enterprise. That means paying for obligatory insurance, obligatory membership fee at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, font licences, Webspace, Domain, E-Mail-Account – and taxes, of course. I’ll need packaging and display material for the pop-up-stall, a cash box and cash book…and, most importantly, the Shmonzelakh themselves! With your contributions, they’ll be flown in from the United States and Israel, I’ll pay the taxes for them, wrap them in paper and put them in paper bags for you when you buy them. Money also goes to StartNext, the amazing platform that helps me reach out to you, and into shipping your rewards to your door, so you can enjoy the spirit of Schmonzelach Un Tinef wherever you are!
If we make it to the second funding goal, I’ll even develpo a product of my own: The Jewish Self Care Kit (Purim Edition). As some of you may now, we are religiously obliged to drink so much alcohol on Purim that we don’t remember who’s the good and who’s the bad guy in the Purim story. So a stylish sick bag, some kosher orange juice and other hangover cures would come in quite handy. Of course this package would not be only fit for Purim, but could also enhance your New Year’s Eve celebrations. The money would then go into packaging, print, contents and maybe some advertising.
Who are the people behind the project?
Who’s doing the work: I am. Who’s in it through loughing, having fun with the idea, giving (professional) advice: my friends, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Federal Job Center, and – most importantly – my family. Therefore the reward names: If you support me, you become kind of mishpakha to me.