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The Schmooze

This t-shirt will let you pretend to be friends with Jake Gyllenhaal

Ever wanted to pretend that you bunked up with Jake Gyllenhaal at Jewish summer camp? Now there’s a t-shirt for that.

Back in April, when people thought fun social media challenges would be enough to get us through a global pandemic, our friend Jake took a dare from his “Spiderman: Far From Home” co-star Tom Holland: donning a t-shirt and doing a handstand at the same time. Almost as difficult as spelling the name “Gyllenhaal” correctly, the challenge seemed like a transparent attempt to show off one’s golden back muscles and quarantine-chic man bun.

But Jake was showing off something else: a well-worn t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of legendary Lower East Side Deli Russ and Daughters that looked like it was tie-dyed during an immersive Hebrew learning experience in the Catskills and then worn to innumerable Kabbalat Shabbat bonfires.

“Don’t forget to support your businesses,” he quipped at the end of the video.

As the saying goes, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a celebrity who espouses a cause on the internet must be in want of a fundraising campaign to spearhead. So it’s no surprise that Russ and Daughters has drafted the actor to promote a limited run of t-shirts based on his. Proceeds will go to the Independent Restaurant Coalition, an organization currently advocating for federal funding to help small restaurants weather the pandemic.

Hand-dyed the color of lox (Gyllenhaal prefers gaspé nova, Russ and Daughters owner Niki Russ Federman told “GQ”), the t-shirts are available on the deli’s website for $40 a pop. Fantasies of friendship with Jake don’t come cheap — but then again, neither does a thriving post-pandemic gastronomic scene.

Irene Katz Connelly is an editorial fellow at the Forward. You can contact her at connelly@forward.com. Follow her on Twitter at @katz_conn.

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