The 188th Cry­ba­by Brigade: A Skin­ny Jew­ish Kid From Chica­go Fights Hezbollah

  • Review
By – September 9, 2011
Part Stripes, part Camp Ramah, come­di­an Joel Chas­noff presents a new kind of com­ing- of-age sto­ry in his mem­oir and first book, The 188th Cry­ba­by Brigade. Chas­noff had a typ­i­cal Jew­ish Amer­i­can ado­les­cence; he grew up in Chica­go, got an Ivy League edu­ca­tion, and lived in Brook­lyn in his ear­ly twen­ties. After a failed attempt at a career in stand-up com­e­dy, he moves to Israel to ful­fill his life­long yearn­ing to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Under­neath his skin­ny frame, weak stom­ach, and lack of ath­leti­cism burns a long-run­ning love of Eretz Yis­rael. Chas­noff is assigned to the Armored Corps and trains as a tank gun­ner. But stop right there; this is not an all-out slap­stick, sil­ly-Amer­i­can-goes-to-Israel, mis­sile hijinks tale. The author illu­mi­nates the rel­a­tive­ly unknown side of the IDF and shows us from the inside how an army made up of teenagers and run by twen­ty-some­thing offi­cers actu­al­ly func­tions. Along with Chas­noff, we bond with his pla­toon mates, who all call each oth­er achi, my broth­er.” Chasnoff’s comedic tim­ing and hon­est heart shine through­out the nar­ra­tive as we fol­low his jour­ney from sup­posed zero to Israeli hero. Glos­sary of Israeli mil­i­tary slang, south Lebanon secu­ri­ty recipes.

Read Joel Chas­nof­f’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Judg­ing a Book by its Cov­er

Meet­ing My Giants 

The Stage vs. the Page

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