At the Weitzman, Jewish Content Creators Explain Their Jewish … – Jewish Exponent

Kosha Dillz is a Jewish rapper whose videos have gotten hundreds of thousands of views. Karen Cinnamon is a Jewish influencer whose online persona, about choosing your Jewish journey, has galvanized more than a million followers.
Yet when they came from New York City and the United Kingdom, respectively, to appear at Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media’s Jewish New Media Festival on May 21, they spoke to crowds that were a fraction of the size. At the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, Dillz had a conversation with Dan Drago, host of the Philadelphia music podcast 25 O’Clock, before an audience of fewer than 20 people. Later in the afternoon, Cinnamon spoke to a crowd of a little more than 20 residents, tourists and fans.
Online, these content creators can attract a mass audience. But in real life, they could not even come close to drawing the audience that PJFM’s annual film festival draws, a number in the thousands.
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New media may be what the kids, and younger generations in general, even adult millennials, are consuming, but what is it? Is it real? Is it substantial? Will it stand the test of time? Is it art? Is it amusement?
These are still questions with no clear answers. But if there’s one thing that is clear after the Jewish New Media Festival, it’s this: Presenting as Jewish on the internet is an identity and brand that can gain you a following.
Dillz, real name Rami Matan Even-Esh, grew up in Edison, New Jersey, with Israeli immigrant parents, according to his Wikipedia page. After falling into the drug scene and spending time in jail, he reconnected with the Judaism of his youth and decided to make it his rap identity.
In addition to the name, he wears a big Star of David necklace. It’s true to his identity, Dillz explains. But it’s also a way to stand out. When he went on MTV’s “Wild ‘n Out,” he got to be the Jewish rapper. Online, it’s a territory he tries to own whenever and wherever he can. As Dillz told the Weitzman audience, his busiest work seasons are the weeks leading up to Jewish holidays like Chanukah.
In December 2021, the Israeli rapper and Nissim Black, another Jewish rapper, made a “Hanukkah Song 2.0” video, released on YouTube to more than 286,000 views, remixing Adam Sandler’s famous “Chanukah Song.” During Passover this year, Dillz appeared outside Katz’s Deli in NYC and rapped while dressed as Moses.
At one point after the rapper’s talk with Drago, a Jewish woman in the audience raised her hand and asked if he made a living doing this. Dillz explained that his income varied each year, and that he had to use most of what he made to create more content, but that yes, his efforts paid the bills.
“Rami is also a Palestinian name, Lebanese name, Egyptian, so people didn’t know,” Dillz said of his Jewish identity. “I was like, ‘Oh, if I get really big as Kosha Dillz, then I’ll attract all this Jewishness to me.’”
Cinnamon, a London-based designer, manifested her identity online when she was planning her wedding in 2013. She realized that there was no digital space for Jews to brainstorm wedding ideas together, so she created one: a blog called “Smashing the Glass.” It grew popular enough to be featured in The New York Times, BBC World News and other outlets. Cinnamon used that success to build a comprehensive brand labeled “Your Jewish Life,” which includes a podcast, Instagram account and weekly newsletter. According to, the brand has more than 4 million followers.
At the Weitzman, Cinnamon explained the core belief that animates her content, including a few Instagram videos she showed on the projector on the stage. You can be Jewish any way you want to be. If you do not want to keep kosher or cook a big Shabbat dinner or even fast on Yom Kippur, that’s OK. The influencer encouraged the audience to start a “Jewish Joy Journal,” a product she sells, including in the Weitzman store, in which they record “small wins” each day.
“My brand is actually about being Jewish,” she said. “What I felt when I started my Instagram account, originally Smashing the Glass and now Your Jewish Life, is that the audience, they want to be seen.”
Cinnamon is not wrong. One man in the crowd raised his hand and told her that her content had helped him.
“I like that it’s extremely positive. This is all about celebrating life,” said that man, Addison Davis, a Center City resident.
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