Anti-Semetic Vodka Ads?

Yes, Jews are cheap, and proud of it.

Click here if you are unable to view this video.

Comments (58)

(50) Anonymous, March 4, 2012 6:28 AM

I don't say that its good or bad. During the Great depression in the US everyone had to learn to be frugal, they didn't have a choice and it was considered "taboo " to ask for handouts. I grew up in Battle Creek, Mich. USA there were two VERY well known Jewish Gentlemen there that owned businesses. They were considered frugal but fair and everyone respected them. I'm not saying the billboard was good or bad, I don't know what the intention of the sign. What ever your heart tells you is your own feelings. Some mean it for bad and maybe some mean it as a compliment. As the child of parents that grew up in the Great Depression I personally would look at it as we did the two Jewish brothers, respectfully. As the Great granddaughter of a Polish Jew that fled Poland, who may unknowingly may have ancestors murdered for being Jewish, Who knows?

(49) sue, January 11, 2012 12:05 AM

it is anti semitic

iI am getting it said more at work then i ever used to. The whole ofidea of Jews and being cheap comes from shakespear merchant of Venice with Shylock being a a money grubber money lender jew. It also comes from the 14th centuary when jews were put into ghettos and one of the only jobs that a Jew could do was to becomea money lender.

sara, January 11, 2012 7:07 PM

I agree it comes from Shylock, were it wasn't meant as a good thing, and when people say it about jews, they usually mean it in a bad way too. as in stingy or the rich who won't spend their money without a bargain! it is stereotypical and exagerated but maybe jews are more careful and that is of course a very good thing! obviously too much of anything is no good...

(48) Allan, December 25, 2011 6:43 PM

A Jew Joke by any other name:

It is not my job to educate the ignorant. My first job is to let them know I don't like Jew Jokes. My second job is to show them my back as I walk away to a fading . "It was just a joke" "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you" "Oh, lighten up." Unfortunately the solution always creates an uncomfortable moment for all however, it never ends until I choose to end it. For this Cheap Jew, even a morsel of my integrity does not come at a discount.

(47) Damien Leung, December 4, 2011 6:08 PM

It's just a promo gimmick!

I don't see any ant-semitism in this ad. It is just for attracting Jewish people to buy the product while celebrating Hanuka. Just like: "10% off Chinese New Year Pricing." That would not upset me as calling Chinese -- that I am -- cheap.

(46) Anonymous, December 4, 2011 12:37 AM

It's not OK to post anti-Semitic stereotypes

Two points: 1. The Holocaust didn't happen in a vacuum. It was the physical result of the incitement that included perpetuation of negative Jewish stereotypes, including calling Jews cheap. In every generation leading up to the Holocaust, there was anti-Semtic speech, which led to anti-Semitic attitudes, and in turn to anti-Semitic actions. Today anti-Semitic speech is taboo. If we want to bring back the bad old days of anti-Semitic actions, let's roll back the taboos and pretend that history won't repeat itself yet again. 2. The poster doesn't say that Jews are wise, intelligent or fiscally sound, the compliments the video perceives in the cheap Jew charge. Rather, the poster was entirely non-complimentary toward the Jews. It's nice to have a feel good drasha, but we have to start with the pshat here in the world of reality if we're going to formulate appropriate responses. In my experience, "lighten up" like its partner "whatever", is an expression of emotional resistance to the intellect. The intellect knows that hate speech is dangerous, but the "lighten up" crowd can't be bothered confronting it until it balloons into something that can no longer be contained.

(45) Sammy, December 1, 2011 10:20 AM

I think it is a good value to be frugal and not waste your money on stuff you don't need. The irony is that in my generation (the Y Generation) we are beginning to reverse that stereo type. How do you think the term JAP (Jewish American Princess) started?

(44) Joe, December 1, 2011 3:33 AM


I'd take this as a joke. Calling this 'anti-semitism' undervalues the real anti-semitism that occurs. We don't want a 'boy who cried wolf' situation.

(43) Herbert Lazarus, November 30, 2011 10:24 PM

What point is there raising petty issues? This a petty issue, a joke not a poke? It's like when Abe Foxman criticized Gen. Jones over a harmless joke. Foxman is a fool and should be removed. I think you Rabbi Solomon should replace him, but not at such an exorbitant salary.

(42) GORDON SACK, November 30, 2011 8:31 PM


(41) jacques villeneuve, November 30, 2011 11:54 AM

what's the name of the vodka?

The distributor should pursue Chabad data base. They will do well!

(40) Miriam, November 30, 2011 3:40 AM

Funny, but it implies that Christmas is better than Chanuka. I see no anti-semitism saying that we jews are cheap.

BNL, December 6, 2011 6:42 PM

I agree

it is funny, and I don't find it terribly offensive, but I agree, it does imply Christmas has more "quality" to it than Hanukkah....

(39) lisa, November 30, 2011 3:38 AM

Happy Chanukah!! L'chaim!!

A knock is a boost!!!

(38) Michael Elias, November 30, 2011 2:59 AM

Were does it end

Here in Australia we are still using the term Jew fish for a fish called the due fish , in fact your own President had this on his menu when he visited Australia recently , i have tried to get this derogatory term removed but our so called jewish leaders have said that as a community we have other more important issues . Were does antisimitism racisim end ?

(37) Laura, November 30, 2011 2:33 AM

cheap is not funny

This continues an anti-Semitic stereotype. I have heard Christians talk about "jewing" someone down on a price. One of my employees said her husband's family calls him "jew boy" because he is always so cheap. When my grandfather gave a generous check to help a non Jew who needed money, one of her acquaintances said, "Wow! You got a lot of money from the old Jew!'' Contrary to the assertions here, cheap is not frugal, does not imply care about spending. The anti-Semites think we hoard our money for the sake of money. There is no need to have a billboard that promotes this offensive view.

Anonymous, November 30, 2011 7:40 PM

Jews may be cheap but Scots invented stinginess

Whenever a Christian makes an attempt to define Jews as cheap " I retort back with "That is rich coming from a Scotsman" and especially at Christmas I remind them of the epitome of stinginess, Ebeneezer Scrooge. Bah humbug!

(36) Anonymous, November 30, 2011 1:22 AM

i don't think it's a compliment to say that jews are cheap; that word has a negative connotation. However, why should the Jews get insulted by that? It may not be nice that they put up that bill board, but why make a fuss about small things? that will just increase the antisemitism, and we don't need more of that. we should pick the big things to make a big deal about, no?

(35) Nicole Shapiro, November 30, 2011 1:09 AM

You are COMPLETELY off the mark with this one!!!!! Ironically in the last 2 days at my gym I have heard the same stereotypical racial slurs - which is fundamentally what they are - being thrown around my gym! These comments were NEVER intended as a compliment - rather as an insult and are now commonly accepted racial slurs - which is exactly what that billboard typified!!!!!!! You ask 10 people what that comment really means - and 10 people will only provide an explanation which has a derogratory explanation!!! Shame on you for suggesting it is anything else - especially in today's anti-semitic charged enviroment!!!

(34) Mike Wiener, November 30, 2011 12:51 AM

At first glance, it is anti-semitic...but only if you are Jewish. Yes, it does promote the wrong idea about Jews. Most, I believe, see it as proof that Jews are cheap, not frugal. I see it as a good advertising gimmick. You have to be able to laugh at yourself and spread the word that Jews are not cheap. We do watch how we spend our hard earned money.

(33) carolyn, November 29, 2011 11:24 PM

If you're OK with it, I'm Ok with it?

Not everyone has the same sense of humor, so I might question who put out the ad, was it a jew? Maybe the billboard needed a disclaimer: warning humor, you may not get it, not intended to be offensive. Just Kidding. Would it be OK if it was from an arab? I dont know that cheap is synomous with wise, at least in the US. Cost cutting at work often means job loss. Cheap people aren't exactly loved or respected by many people. How far will you go to get the cheapest price? Use slave labor? Stampede and riot during a Black Friday sale? Cheap is often used to denote poor quality. Is cheap associated with ethical? It can be, but what is the general perception? I don't know that the negative aspect of "cheap" makes it to the positive association of "wise". I think the majority of prejudice and hate crimes are based on ignorant perceptions.This is a global problem. Do the vast majority of people understand jewish ethics, humor or even care? Personally, I cringe when I hear the phrase cheap jews. I want to say jews are generous,etc., and go on and on, but I don't. We need to keep an open mind and continue to communicate with each other. Humor is great, but you have to understand it. Is this an inside joke, or does everyone get it? Our society is a global one, and an ad in NY may not stay just there. I will never forget a breakroom conversation when one of the 3 or 4 young female black co-workers accidently addressed me in the conversation as n****a. The room immediately grew silent, all eyes were on me, and I didn't miss a beat and replied with an exaggerated b***ch ple-e-ease. The room errupted in laughter. Keep in mind I'm a white female over fifty. Was that OK? In context, it was hilarious. The fact we were able to communicate so very frankly, without inhibition, fear, barriers or taboos was important. I'm not so sure anyone else would find it as funny as we did or grasp what was really going on.

(32) Sue, November 29, 2011 9:42 PM

you're not right

you're usually kind of right or I'm on the borderline. This time you're wrong. It's an antisemitic stereotype that Jews are cheap. It's very bad.

(31) Grace Fishenfeld, November 29, 2011 9:33 PM

Here's To You!

We don't need to read that Christmas has quality and that Chanukah is chintzy and cheap. The Ad agency shows its ignorance and we can't gloss it over. . I love to stretch a buck and give away the excess. Jews have pleasure in giving to children and those in need. We are generous and promote wholesome values. I'de rather treat a kid to an egg cream than drink Vodka anyway. Cheers!

(30) Annessa Thomas, November 29, 2011 8:28 PM


This billboard is stereotypical and it should not be displayed. It is really anti-semitic in my opinion!

(29) Jen in Oz, November 29, 2011 8:24 PM

Is it true you have to be rich to be Jewish?

25 years ago, I was the only Jewish person on campus when I was studying to be a teacher. Someone actually asked me this question! My response? "No, but it helps!"

(28) Myron Peal, November 29, 2011 8:22 PM


"Huh, Do I agree? Of course...100%. What an honor to be selected from all peoples, to be looked to for advise and opinion on such an important and timely topic." Thank you Myron Peal

(27) David S. Levine, November 29, 2011 7:58 PM

A Teaching Moment

Perhaps the non-Jews might use it to think about getting quality for what they (over)pay. And since the billboard was on the West Side of Manhattan, perhaps some of the left wing politicians elected from that neighborhood, particularly its two Congressmen, might also want to pay Chanukah prices for the overly generous welfare and government employee pay packages they advocate.

(26) Diana Page, November 29, 2011 5:55 PM

I agree, Rabbi

We have become much too sensitive and take things far too seriously. Political correctness has quashed intelligent and important dialogue in this country. Laugh at yourselves--human foibles ARE funny and ARE just that!!

(25) Mati, November 29, 2011 5:35 PM

It is antisemitic


(24) juanita driggs, November 29, 2011 5:26 PM


Right on, Salomon. Time for everybody to chill---with a stiff shot of cheap Vodka!

(23) jack, November 29, 2011 5:01 PM

agree with you

I could not agree more. People need to lighten up. Do you remember the line-"jesus saves. But, Moses invests!" There are so many more important battles to fight.

(22) Barak, November 29, 2011 5:00 PM

Rabbi Salomon I love you, but you're off this time...

You have to take a permanent side on comments that either elude to or clearly reinforce stereotypes - or you forfeit your right to object in the future. You are being silly if you think that when non-Jews say we are cheap or use the term "Jew down the price" etc., that we are to be respected for being "wise" with our money. When money and Jews are used in the same sentence it is derogatory. Period. It is meant to separate us from them, bad from good. Unfortunately these stereotypes serve as pillars to the structure of anti-semitism. We must endeavor to remove them at every opportunity, lest we allow the structure to become increasingly fortified. Rabbi Salomon, I look forward to reading your words and listening to what you say each week, but perhaps you need to re-think this one. All the best, Barak

(21) Anonymous, November 29, 2011 4:46 PM

we're not cheap, we give tzedaka

Anyone who thinks Jews are cheap should see the amount of tzedaka we give and how we rally to help each other. Those of us in the middle class are forced to be careful with money because our expenses (tuition, simchas, maaser) are so high. But B'H that we have such expenses !!

(20) Do Lern Hwei, November 29, 2011 4:39 PM

Good to consider minorities

Good of the company to give discounts early and think of the minority in NY.

(19) Ilbert, November 29, 2011 4:15 PM

Lighten Up

I think the bill board is very funny. Since veryone in New York is a "Jew" New Yorkers will get it. I bet a Jew created the ad.

(18) Oskar Noble, November 29, 2011 3:46 PM

stingy? cheap? No, no we are wise!

Did you not notice that we got equal billing with Christmas, on one billboard, FOR FREE! That is SWEET!!!

lisa, November 30, 2011 3:41 AM

Yes, that's the way to look at publicity!!

We are dollars & cents savy....oy, bubalah, nu is that so bad??

(17) Anonymous, November 29, 2011 3:05 PM

I do not think any ethnic group should be used for comedy.

There is enough real antisemtism for jews going on. This just adds smoke to FIRE It will percipitate more and more

(16) DAVID FRANKEL, November 29, 2011 2:24 PM


(15) Moshe Litvin, November 29, 2011 2:09 PM

You're so right Rabbi

This whole situation was totally over blown. If someone said the statement from the billboard at your Shabbat table you would give it a laugh. I think more people were involved in this billboard situation as an outrage then the recent hate crimes in Brooklyn, NY. A car that was set on fire, and the Jewish man that was attacked by a couple of young hispanics on a subway train wasn't all over websites and message boards in any comparable way to this billboard. Print ads like this are by no means the correct target for antisemitism concerns. This ad was shtick.

(14) ruth housman, November 29, 2011 1:15 PM

being Cheap

Cheep cheep! What came first, the chicken or, the egg? I think it's great to turn around a slogan others feel is antisemitic or as is misspelled above, semetic. .And maybe what is being discussed, is semantic. Is this really what people mean in writing this, about Chanukah? I think what makes sense is the meaning behind the meaning? Did they intend this, as a compliment? What do most people who are Jewish think. That's the thinking part. Or was it pejorative, another slogan that is not really positive. I think it could be, because I have encountered a lot of people who are unschooled who run with this way of thinking. Not good. Not good at all. As to vodka, there is Absolut, said to be 100 Proof, or is that 200 Proof, with respect to alcohol content. Is say there is Proof extant, Absolute, that G_d exists, and is having a good laugh. And yes, of course, always, let in a little light. It's through the cracks that the light gets in. Let there be, LIGHT. I believe G_d wrote the entire script and it's encrypted in the words themselves, as in the word, script, if you listen carefully, you will hear "crypt".

(13) Joel F Peres, November 29, 2011 1:14 PM

Couldn't agree with you more.

I'm Jewish, Cheap, and Proud of my Frugality :)

(12) Kerry, November 29, 2011 12:52 PM


Mum is half Scots, and she will give any thrifty Jew a run for their money. She knows how to make two pennies hurt.

(11) Frank Adam, November 29, 2011 12:48 PM


The word is SEMITIC with an 'I' and NOT a second 'e.' I am not in the business of complaining about spoken accents because there are so fashions and history but after thirty years trying to get school children to spell correctly when it correct spelling it is vital to be accurate to keep the roots - the shoreshim - visible.

(10) Anonymous, November 29, 2011 12:27 PM

I agree. Lighten up folks.Seem to me a humorous ad. We had good training in desert

I believe Jews as a group watch their money more carefully than most other ethnic groups. They also give more generously to charitable causes. Nothing wrong with that. I heard that the reason the Jews spent forty years in the desert was that somebody dropped a quarter in the sand. The story about waiting for a slave generation to pass was a by product of the search.

(9) Rivka, November 29, 2011 11:45 AM

Something to think about!

I respectfully disagree that this billboard is no big deal. It's good to be chilled out but not at the expense of being blind to the trend of what is happening in the United States and in the world. Anti-Semitism is on the rise and we Jews better wake up to that. Forget about what the add says about being cheap, why are the Jews in the add pictured as dogs?!? We should remember the lesson of Yaakov avinu when he was living with Lavan. As soon as Lavan's face (attitude) changed towards him by the slightest amount he knew it was time to leave. Maybe Hashem is sending a message to the Jews of America that it's time to leave and head towards our homeland- Israel. What I do agree with is that this is something to think about.

Anonymous, November 29, 2011 6:15 PM

What's wrong with being compared to dogs?

If only Jews-----and all people----were half as nice as dogs. Other than that, I agree with everything else. The billboard had to come down. When non-Jews call Jews cheap---It ain't a compliment.

(8) Fran Duff, November 29, 2011 11:33 AM

Frugal is not stingy

My mother was a very frugal woman who had gone through much during the depression to learn how to raise five children by being such in that many of my age group did not even have the opportunity to graduate from High School which sadly she did not have and worked hard along with being frugal so that her children would have it. We better take the example of the Jews and people like my mother if we want to make it through this period of financial problems.

(7) Malka, November 28, 2011 3:29 PM

The Definition of "Cheap"

The flaw in Rabbi's comment is that the definition of "cheap," in this case, is not "frugal," but "stingy." Don't believe me? Ask your non-Jewish neighbors. Is the billboard funny? In all honesty, it would be funny to me in a strictly Jewish area, but it loses its humor and becomes offensive when shared (or should I say "aired") in the larger community,

Anonymous, November 29, 2011 1:00 PM

Only funny in a Jewish community

In college I went with a mixed group for food and something (I don't recall) happened with money and a professed Christian student said " I just got Jewed". It turned my stomach to hear this, and I had the good sense to not judge all Christians by this one person's ignorance. We live in the Bible Belt and my kids have been subjected to all kinds of statements that are cruel and biased, and yet have come to know some very kind and tolerant people as well. I have taught my children that much of this comes from ignorance of what Judaism really is and through knowing us, many people have restructured their views. My biggest objection to the billboard is that it feeds into this ignorance... and in areas where Jews are a minority, someone will be affected. I have often wondered why G-d placed me in the Bible Belt- and I sometimes think it is to put a real person in front of people whose only ideas about Jews are built on stories and myths.

Tova Saul, November 29, 2011 6:13 PM

Billboard had to come down

I agree it's good to be frugal, but when non-Jews joke about Jews being cheap, it is done with a negative attitude. And many Jews seem to use their money foolishly and extravagantly, even though we are the biggest charity-givers.

(6) Anonymous, November 27, 2011 7:03 PM

I agree with you Rabbi Salomon

We try to spend our money wisely and that's something to be proud of!

(5) Dr. Alex Pister, November 27, 2011 6:45 PM

Hillarious billboard

As Jews we'd better focus our attention on what the cause of Jew hatred is rather than on some silly billboard. The Al-Mighty brings Jew hatred to wake the Jewish People up to do Teshuva. Rather than wasting time on nuances of arguing over whether this or that is "anti-semitic" spend your energies asking yourselves where do I need to change, grow and improve. You want to see all Jew hatred evaporate? Stop focusing on the symptoms and deal with the cause. And it all starts with the individual. Don’t try to change the world or your country or your city or your family and friends. Work on yourself. This is the Chofetz Chaim’s approach. The Torah says: perfect yourself and after that work on perfecting others. How do you perfect yourself? Get yourself a Rabbi who can be straight and honest with you and tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are. Work out a game plan to improve together. Don’t let it be too easy or too hard. Start with practical steps that are “doable”. Pray to Hashem for help regularly. And every now and then have a good laugh over a silly billboard!! The dog with the kippah is clearly “chasiddish”. I mean check out the beard!!

(4) Daniel Morgenbesser, November 27, 2011 2:53 PM

I think that the rabbi is correct. I thought the ad was funny. People are so sensitive these days. You almost cannot say anything . He is right. We should lighten up.

(3) Mitch, November 27, 2011 1:01 PM


Hello Rabbi Salomon. I agree that frugality is something to be proud of!

(2) Anonymous, November 27, 2011 12:31 PM

Hanukkah quality!

I don't know the product, but if I were to sell this vodka, I would talk about 'Hanukkah' quality. And, a little would go a long way! I think they have the two reversed. I see what you mean Rabbi. It makes good sense. We often talk about such issues and some feel as if we are emphasizing everything and wasting every bit of our political capital. Others use the slippery slope argument: one lets go of one thing and what will be next? I do not know the answer but what bothers me more is the media exposure. It is one thing for someone to put up a billboard. It is another to help those who we feel are making fun of Hanukkah. All those organizations trying to help just doubled the sales volume of that vodka and the advertising was all free. Now, who has done more damage to us: the advertising company or our own organizations? Thus, I have a problem with the way we approach this. Sometimes I feel as if this is not serving our community.

(1) Mordy, November 27, 2011 12:10 PM

Implying Jews are cheap IS anti-semitic!

Sorry, Rabbi Salomon, but you are wrong on this issue. The idea that Jews are "cheap" is derogatory. Taken together with "Christmas Quality," it implies that Jewish goods are inferior, that we are prepared to sell to non-Jews second-rate items. The subliminal message is "Not to worry about our vodka being second-rate, despite it having a low price, as it is first-rate Christian quality." It strengthens the stereotypical image of the Jew as someone set out to take advantage of the pure innocent _______ (fill in the blank with German, American, Frenchman etc) . The ADL was right.

Anonymous, November 29, 2011 1:27 PM

I agree with Mordy's post. Despite the outward cutesiness (who can argue with pictures of dogs?) there is an underlying hostility in the message. People still remember the acts Bernie Madoff committed and are likely to conclude that ALL Jews are cheap and crooked. The ad needs to be taken down.


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive the Weekly Email

Sign up to our Aish Weekly Update Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy