An interview with Geoffrey Cohen of Jewdas

Some call him elusive while others, well others don’t call him anything really.  It’s true that Geoffrey Cohen is not an easy person to track down but that’s mainly because he’s not very good with email addresses.  Nevertheless, in the interests of providing my readers with insights into the minds that are the future of Anglo-Jewry I traced him and travelled all the way to Hackney to speak exclusively with the 15 year old leader of what is possibly the most insignificant and futile Jewish political movement since my cousin Harry stood as an independent councillor in an attempt to extend the eruv boundary by four miles so it took in his flat in Harlesden.

Here’s that interview in full.

NWJ:  How did Jewdas begin?
GC:  It all started about two years ago as a cheder project.  My teacher was studying for a GCSE in politics at the time and he was, like, so cool.  He told me about anarchy and how it’s all about being rude and stuff.  I thought, that’s just what Judaism needs.  There’s not enough Jewish rudeness.  Everyone’s really serious all the time.

NWJ:  You tend to avoid the limelight. Is this deliberate?  Are you publicity shy?
GC:  Not publicity shy, no.  Let’s put it this way, (Cohen furtively looks all around his bedroom to check there’s nobody listening in, then, drops his voice and leans towards me) I’m really dangerous – I’m seen as a threat to the Jewish community.

NWJ:  How can you been seen as a threat if nobody’s heard of you?
GC: Also I’ve been grounded for two weeks.

NWJ:  What for?
GC:  My mum found out about the hoax email.

NWJ:  You’re talking about the email that purported to be from the Board of Deputies calling off the recent pro-Israel rally in Trafalgar Square.  Some say that the stunt was a desperate attempt to be noticed by the wider Jewish community.   How do you respond to that allegation?
GC:  Absolute rubbish.  Have you seen how many people attend our events?
NWJ:  About 20?
GC:  the last one attracted 36 and three of them were people none of us knew at all really.  Well, I knew one of them because she was at Daniel Levy’s barmitzvah, but I didn’t actually invite her, she just heard about it through Daniel.

NWJ:  And what do you do at these events?
GC:  We talk about how cheder sucks and how our rabbis are stupid, and Converse basketball boots.  Stuff like that.

NWJ:  So what’s next on the agenda?
GC:  We’re going to set up a mobile catering van outside Kinloss Gardens synagogue at Yom Kippur and sell bacon rolls!  It’s going to challenge people to think about why they fast every year religiously without recognising that they only do it because their parents and grandparents did it and because it’s part of the Jewish tradition.  See, we’re radical.

NWJ:  How are you going to cook the bacon on Yom Kippur, if you’re not allowed to light the gas on Yom Kippur?
GC:  (pauses) We’ll have to think about that one.

NWJ:  Well, I think we’d better end it there.  You’re mum said you could only talk for 10 minutes because you have homework to do.
GC:  I don’t take any notice of that bourgeois old bag.  I told you, I’m dangerous. Let’s keep going.

At this point Geoffrey’s mum put her head round the door.

Mrs Cohen:  Geoffrey. Homework.
GC:  OK. We’d better end it there then.

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