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Joanna Angel Is Big In Israel

I call her in New York Monday afternoon.

Luke: “It’s Your Moral Leader.”

“Are you getting ready for Tisha B’Av?”

Joanna: “Ohmigod. I’d forgotten about that holiday. I’m not going to fast. I haven’t done that fast in many years.”

Luke: “Don’t have sexual relations and don’t wear leather or perfume.”

Joanna: “I don’t ever wear perfume. Does deoderant count?”

Luke: No.

Joanna: “It’s raining here.”

Luke: “You’re not allowed to bathe on Tisha B’Av.”

Joanna: “It’s like Yom Kippur?”

Luke: “Yeah.”

Joanna: “Doesn’t Tisha B’Av begin in the morning and end at night?”

Luke: “Nope. It’s 25 hours.”

Joanna: “I haven’t kept that one since I was a little girl. Even my mom said that wasn’t so important.”

“I have exciting [pink] hair but a boring life.”

Joanna recently read the book Skinema by Chris Nieratko. “His chauvinism was really funny. It wasn’t offensive. It was so terrible it was funny. I can’t really pull that off. I can only be as funny as Sarah Silverman. I can never be as funny as Chris Rock or Steve Martin.”

Luke: “If someone has a fantasy about Sarah Silverman, they can just watch one of your movies and get more details.”

Joanna: “I wish she’d appear in one of my movies.”

“I’ve never spoken to her. I wonder what would happen if we did. Maybe the world would blow up?”

I was on the front page of [the July 19] Ha’aretz.”

Shahar Smooha reports:

At the age of 13, Joanne started to move away from religion, and found herself drawn to the punk scene at her junior high school. She pierced her navel in ninth grade, something she managed to conceal from her mother for two years, with the secret being revealed at a highly inopportune moment. “It was Yom Kippur and we went to do tashlikh [ritual discarding of sins, in the form of crumbs, into a body of water] at some lake in New Jersey near the temple. When I raised my arm to throw the bread into the water, my shirt came up and my mother saw the piercing. She got really angry and she cried,” she recalls.

Angel speaks Hebrew reasonably well, and says that Israel always constituted a big part of her identity. Her sister has been living in Israel for the past year, where she has been teaching English, but will soon return to the United States. “When I was younger, I’d go to Israel every year. I was also in that thing, Hetz Vakeshet [Bow and Arrow], where you pretend that you’re in the army for six weeks. I liked that a lot. That was the best summer I ever had. I was 15, and I learned to shoot an M16. We slept in tents, and they’d take us on long hikes and gave us maps so we’d learn the topography or something like that. I don’t remember very much, but I do remember getting drunk a lot with the soldiers,” she says.

Angel got her first tattoo when she was 18, and she says that with each new one she still feels bad, because “I know how sad it makes my mother.”

Joanna: “All my relatives in Israel found out what I was doing. Now I have something on them. My uncle has an important job with the Israeli government. He could lose his job if they found out about me.”

“I’m famous in Israel now.”

“Now my mom knows [that Joanna eats ham]. I keep telling her it’s a lie.”

“My sister went on a date with a left-wing political activist. He said something about how much he hates Israel. It scared her. Everything got very awkward.”

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