Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



The Art of the Laugh

Leah Gebber

Keren Keet’s greeting cards, featuring her wry cartoons, have caused a mini sensation in London, where customers stand in stores chuckling at her latest creations. Meet the woman behind the smiles.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Glance at Keren’s cartoons and you’ll notice her unique vantage point; many of her jokes poke gentle and affectionate fun at the frum lifestyle. But Keren wasn’t always living the lifestyle she now knows so well. From a traditional background, Keren was brought up in a home infused with traditional values, if not observance. Keren loved art, and pursued it through her school career. When her brother became fully observant, he paved the way for Keren. At 18, before heading off to university to study English literature, Keren took a year off to spend in Israel. There, she enrolled in a course geared for all streams of Judaism — Orthodox, Reform, and Conservative. Concurrently, her eldest brother was studying full time in Aish HaTorah. Her course emphasized Jewish history and took a hands-on approach — after learning about the Beis Hamikdash, the students were taken to archeological sites to view the finds from the period. “Seeing the concrete reality of this distant period of our history was a catalyst in the deepening of my emunah.” Keren’s growth in Torah came gradually. “My brother would tell me things and they made sense, so I kept them according to my knowledge.” A Shabbos spent with her brother on the secular moshav where their grandmother lived was memorable. “My brother and I took a walk after the meal. We talked a lot about being Jewish and having a Jewish identity and being able to pass that identity onward. I had always had a strong Jewish identity and wanted my kids to be Jewish too. I thought about the fact that Shabbos was a huge distinguisher between Jews and non-Jews. It also serves to separate us from secular culture, the world, the social milieu. So I decided then and there that I would keep Shabbos. It was my contribution to Jewish continuity.” After a year in Israel, Keren returned to England to begin her studies in the University of Birmingham. She stayed there for a single, difficult year. “Birmingham had nothing for me in terms of spiritual growth. I felt very isolated. I needed to be with people who were heading in the same direction.” Keren made the decision to transfer her studies to a London university; there, she became a frequent face at the Jewish Learning Exchange. Every evening Keren attended shiurim, and she spent Shabbos with frum families in Golders Green, joined by her other brother, who was also becoming frum. “It struck me,” Keren reflects, “when I first ventured into the chareidi world, that this community that seemed so cold and serious from the outside was actually full of warmth and humor. It helped me to be able to see myself as potentially being part of it.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you