Jamie Sneider may have taken the traditional notion of “comfort” out of the term “comfort food.” In her 2009 calendar, “The Year of the Jewish Woman,” the actress and comedy writer poses in skimpy outfits, often bearing iconic Jewish foods — kugel, brisket, matzo balls — that don’t necessarily look appetizing.
“I have always found Jewish pastries sensual and somewhat erotic,” Sneider wrote on her Web site, www.jamiesneider.com. Indeed, many of those very foods were used by Sneider to cover up certain body parts (in one photo, she is shown taking a bagel bath). The calendar’s 60 images are intended to represent Jewish, American and international holidays.
Sneider came up with the idea for the calendar when she moved to Los Angeles from New York to pursue an acting career. She had been told that her “ethnic” features would limit her ability to land good roles, and she was feeling uneasy about her identity. But when she visited a Jewish bakery in her new city, childhood memories of eating rugelach, babka and hamantaschen at her grandmother’s kosher bakery came flooding back. It was then that she decided to embrace her connection to Jewish culture.
The calendar, which costs $24, also pays tribute to Sneider’s family. Her mother and aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 5% of the proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Sneider told The Shmooze that she made the calendar “to celebrate my health and my body as it is today.”
As for her grandmother, who passed away when Sneider was still young, and to whom the calendar is dedicated, Sneider is confident that the project would have made her proud. “Deep down, she would like the brazenness of it,” she said.
This story "Calendar Girl’s Jewish Year" was written by Lana Gersten.