Underwear With a Conscience, But No Real Wit


While there are plenty of serious, discussion-worthy things going on in Israel this week, I’m going to take a walk on the lighter side and turn to a more frivolous subject. Underwear. In particular, irreverently Jewish themed underwear for women.

The company is called JewButt, the panties come in two styles (available only online for now at JewButt.com), and 10% of the profits go to the Rape Crisis Center in Jerusalem.

Based in Israel, JewButt’s founder, Beverely Paris, is a New Zealander who made aliyah in 1991. She has a day job but decided to take an entrepreneurial foray with something Jewish and fun that wasn’t a t-shirt. Underwear was the next logical step, I guess.

While slogan panties are not exactly my thing, this sounds like an idea I’d like to get behind–pun intended–particularly since part of the profits go to a great cause.
Butt, to be frank (which is what I call myself when I’m being honest), I am sorely disappointed with the execution of the idea.

In a Jpost article Paris defends her brand, and herself, against anticipated criticism:

Paris explains that although some people find the JewButt concept slightly risqué, she has a deep respect for religion and is religious herself. “For me, JewButt is about Jewish identity, and it’s playful. It’s about fostering community and having fun with it. People shouldn’t take it too seriously,” she says.

But the problem isn’t that Paris’s slogan undies are too risque, it’s that they’re not risqué enough. Or smart enough, frankly. Irreverent humor should be fun but should also be taken seriously enough to actually be humorous and irreverent.

A panty that says “kosher style,” now, that’s not half bad. Because the idea that one’s behind would be kosher-style, like a pastrami sandwich, or a pickle, is funny. But the other available slogan, which reads, “No Original Sin. No Saints. No Virgin Birth,” baffles me. How do the basic tenets that separate Judaism from Christianity belong on underwear? And how are they funny?

They’re not.

Having “Jewcy” written on my behind is a lot funnier, and makes a lot more sense.
Paris said friends and family offered numerous slogan ideas, so if this was the best they could come up with she needs to get some funnier friends and family. I could offer her my own, they’re very witty.

In conclusion, a question to ponder: Just how exactly does Jewish-themed underwear foster community?

–Rebecca Honig Friedman