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If you can’t beat ‘em: Michael aims to be Poland’s ‘Luckiest Jew’

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Published: 16 August 2018

Last updated: 4 March 2024

WHEN CANADIAN PRODUCER and theatre creator Michael Rubenfeld began spending time in Poland he noticed a strange custom. At some shops and markets vendors would sell photos, statues, and trinkets of Jewish people. The merchandise depicted the Jews in traditional garb counting out money and gold coins. Rubenfeld was dumbfounded.

“How could this possibly exist, and in Poland of all places? It made absolutely no sense until my wife Magda, who was raised in Poland, was able to explain that people actually buy these images of Jews with coins as good-luck charms.

For Rubenfeld seeing caricatures of his people in paintings and other merch was weird. The depictions were so offensively cartoonish that he couldn’t figure out how to feel. He knew that he should be angry about the stereotypes: the negative portrayal of Jews has had unspeakable consequences in the past. At the same time the whole thing was so wrong that the artist also found it kind of funny.

Rubenfeld knew he needed to create a response. The best thing he could come up with? To begin selling his own “Lucky Jew” merchandise.

FULL STORY Meet the Canadian who wants to be Poland’s ‘Luckiest Jew’ (Vice)

Photo: Michael Rubenfeld (Jason Francisco)

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