Heeb is a Jewish magazine aimed at young intellectual Jews. The name of the magazine is a variation of the anti-Semitic ethnic slur hebe. However, in this case, the word "heeb" seeks to function as empowerment for the Jewish community, thus eliminating the hatred associated with the word.
The magazine was founded by activist Jennifer Bleyer, then a graduate student at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and backed financially by Steven Spielberg and Charles Bronfman. Bleyer, who now writes for the New York Times, ended her association with the magazine after she graduated. Taking over for her as editor and publisher was Harvard Divinity School graduate Joshua Neuman. Neuman's goal was to spread the idea of Heeb as a "lifestyle magazine", incorporating events like a traveling Heeb Storytelling show in order to reach an underserved Jewish progressive market around the country. The magazine's subtitle "The New Jew Review" is a reference to the 1970s children's television show The New Zoo Revue.
It has become known for its satire and sardonic approach to reaching Jewish readers of all streams. One phony ad campaign that was designed to make a point was an application for “new United Nations ambassadors”. It was a mail-in test that determined just how anti-Israel the test taker was, and the more against Israel you tested, the better the chance you had of being accepted. Heeb reported that they actually received hundreds of applicants. In a late 2006 edition, a live pig was photographed running across a traditional Sabbath dinner table. Heeb’s satirist, David Deutsch, who used his own table to stage the photos asked his rabbi if it were kosher to use a live pig on his table for this purpose, as pig meat is considered unkosher. His rabbi said that kashrus wasn't a problem, but recommended that he wash the table afterwards.
The magazine is decidedly anti-establishment and left-wing. It frequently criticizes mainstream American Jewish culture, most famously in an article entitled "Joe Lieberman is a Dickhead." The author of the piece took Lieberman to task for favoring an increase in military spending. Other writers who have contributed to Heeb include Allen Salkin, who wrote "Where Have You Gone Sandy Koufax?", an article about Jews obsessed with Jews in sports, and "Why are We So Guilty?".
In March 2004, in its fifth issue, Heeb featured the photo spread entitled Crimes of Passion that spoofed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. The spread included a half naked Virgin Mary (with pierced nipples) and a Jesus with his genitals wrapped in a tallit.
The Catholic League, in its 2004 Report on Anti-Catholicism stated: "The Jewish magazine Heeb published a 10-page photo feature in its Winter 2004 edition mocking Mel Gibson's movie 'The Passion of the Christ' called 'Back Off, Braveheart'. The editors who introduced the spread said that the death of Jesus was 'summarily blamed upon the Jews', until this 'fondly held belief seemed destined to fade forever' after Vatican II. A sexually suggestive Jesus wears a Jewish prayer shawl as a loin cloth, and the Blessed Mother was shown exposing her breasts and body piercing. The occupation of the model photographed as Mary Magdalene was described as 'Evangelist-cum-nymphomaniac country singer'. She was quoted as saying, 'Who killed Jesus? Ryan Adams.' The woman who was photographed as Pontius Pilate was quoted as saying, 'Christians believe the Jews killed Jesus; that is why there is so much anti-Semitism in the world. The church was created on that one simple anti-Semitic principle. Christians who say otherwise are making it up or misrepresenting their own religion.'"