Doodle Me Like One of Your Jewish Girls
An interview with Danielle Brody and a Haggadah GIVEAWAY!
Hey there, happy Friday! Passover starts next week, and if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, don’t fret. We got you.
I say we, because this week I talked to Danielle Brody, local Jewish creator and doodler. She runs the Instagram account Jews in Doodles, drawing funny relatable content about Jewish dating, culture, and more. She started drawing Jewish doodles during the pandemic and has made a brand for herself, hosting events, performing stand-up comedy, and creating and selling products from games to Haggadot for Passover, which you could win in The Shabbat Drop’s first giveaway!
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Westchester. I always liked to draw my ideas to express myself, and I also liked to write parodies. I made a modern version of The Canturbury Tales in high school and I always thought I’d write for television. Then in college at University of Delaware I studied journalism and entrepreneurship, writing for the school paper on more serious topics like campus news and union-related pieces. Now I create B2B content at Business Insider. Throughout my life, I always liked events and being involved in my Jewishness.
How did you grow up Jewishly?
Growing up, being Jewish was very important to my family. I was exposed to many different ways of approaching Judaism having attended Conservative, Reform, and Chabad Hebrew school. My experiences have all played a role in influencing my work and perspective. I’ve always been involved in the Jewish community: through volunteer work, in college at Hillel, by working at the farm/sleep-away camp Eden Village, and now as a professional going to Jewish events, hosting Shabbats in my home, and creating Jewish content.
How did you get your start?
In 2018 I started taking a stand-up comedy class in Astoria, which I’d never really done before. I talked about dating, my family, and had one joke about my mom, who I lost in 2015. Afterwards, people told me the joke about my mom was my best joke.
Then in 2020 I’d been doing stand up and open mics, but got tired of doing jokes about grief. Nothing else stuck until the pandemic, when I was bored and anxious. I remembered while sitting shiva for my mom, I started knitting to cure my anxiety. So during the pandemic, I took up another tactical activity: watercolor and drawing. When my exes texted me during the pandemic, I turned that into my first cartoon. I drew about everything - Biden and Trump, being stuck at home, getting Covid, Hilaria Baldwin. I started a newsletter to share my drawings. I also made holiday cards out of them. It was a slow process - this was before I was digital when it was all watercolor and I had to scan the image. One card I made featured a family holding laptop and on the laptop screen was a bar/bat mitzvah on Zoom and it sold! I needed a project and this became my project.
What else have you created with your doodles?
For Passover 2021, my dad said, “Why don’t you make a Haggadah? They can be so boring!" Being from New York, we came up with the name “Fuhaggadahboudit” but I said you DON’T want to fuhaggadahboudit and that’s how my Haggadah got its name. I found an artist in France I collaborated with on it and at first we only made a digital version, but people wanted a print version so we made that. I printed 100 and they sold out!
I then created a Hanukkah book called “Hanukhah in Your Hands” that teaches you the story of the holiday through cartoons with activities for each night of recipes, coloring pages, and more. I feel like every time a holiday comes up again you ask yourself, “Wait what’s this holiday again?” so I wanted to create a reminder book! I also made a calendar called “Calendar with Context” that had descriptions of every Jewish holiday.
Then last year, I was awarded NY Jewish Week’s 36 to Watch. I needed a new product now that people were watching and seeing my work. Rosh Hashanah happened to be coming up at the time, and I felt it was such a weird time to be thinking about your sins with your family. So I thought it would be funny to make a game based on the theme of sins. I held a game night Shabbat where I tested my game idea. I made a prototype with index cards and had my friends write down a sin. It wasn’t sins like murder and theft, but light-hearted sins like not telling your friend they have spinach in their teeth. People were super into it, debating situations and getting a discussion going. That’s when the game Mitzvah or Shandah was born. I took out my notebook and wrote down Jewish situations that would be funny, like eating the last matzoh ball, or having a crush on your rabbi.
In the summer of 2022, the game became successful when I started testing it at happy hours. Then in December 2022 I started hosting events around it, featuring comedians who play the game on stage.
I really enjoy my work, because my humor started out in a dark place and then it became light and enjoyable and makes people happy. This is never what I expected and people are grateful for the products.
What are you up to now? What’s the goal?
People are really drawn to Mitzvah or Shandah, so I want to develop the product, expand the event concept, and see where else it goes. Also getting more events booked. I just got an event booked at CBE in Brooklyn and at the JCC. I’m also selling my Haggadot for Passover because it’s right around the corner!
Yes it is! How does one get one of these cute Haggadot?
You can buy them on my website but we’re also doing a special GIVEAWAY for readers of The Shabbat Drop! One winner will receive a Don’t Fuhaggadahboudit Haggadah.
HOW TO ENTER:
Extra entries if you follow, like, and comment both!
Not following The Shabbat Drop: mitzvah or shandah?
That's an obvious shandah! And I love that you asked this, because sometimes it's hard to explain the word "shandah," (Yiddish for something shameful) and this is a perfect example of how to use the word.
Lastly, what are you doing this Shabbat? And Passover?
Normally, I'd be going to some 20s/30s Shabbat dinner or hosting my own, but this Friday I'm headed to a wedding in Philly. As for Passover, I'm a little non-commital since it's such a busy time, but if I got an invite I couldn't refuse, I'd definitely commit. On the second night, I'm hosting a seder with JCP, a nice Jewish organization in Tribeca, using my Haggadah.
I hope you are inspired as I am! Everyone have a lovely Passover and Shabbat Shalom. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by commenting below! - Miranda and Danielle