Sign In


Vanessa Hidary – The Hebrew Mamita



“Vanessa has a remarkable way of using humor and unparalled honest writing to truly speak truth to our ever changing, ever evolving American identity. Hands down one of my favorite, and electrifying solo performers.”

Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director Hip Hop Theater Festival, Producer Def Poetry Jam


“Vanessa Hidary is a master. I don’t know how she does it. Every word, every phrase, seems to be chosen with care and total passion. Relentlessly funny and always smart.”

Fred Armisen, Saturday Night Live alum and lead in IFC series, Portlandia


Internationally acclaimed Spoken Word Artist/ Author/Actress/ Native New Yorker Vanessa Hidary grew up on Manhattan’s culturally diverse Upper West Side. Her experiences as a Sephardic Jew with close friends from different ethnic and religious backgrounds inspired her to write “Culture Bandit,” the nationally toured solo show that chronicles Vanessa’s coming of age during the golden age of Hip-Hop, and and her dedication to fostering understanding and friendship between all people.

She has aired three times on “Russell Simmons Presents ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on HBO, and is featured in short film “The Tribe”. Vanessa was chosen as one of 50 speakers to appear at the “2010 IdeaCity- Canada’s Premiere Meeting of the Minds’”. She has appeared at numerous LIMMUD conferences including South Africa and the UK, and has performed at the Lion Of Judah conference at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly convention in New Orleans. Her popular poem tackling Jewish stereotypes and identity titled “The Hebrew Mamita” debuted on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and quickly went viral garnering nearly half a million YouTube hits, igniting widespread discussion among Jews and non Jews alike regarding the subject of identity. She has conducted poetry and racism workshops with numerous youth groups such as BBYO and The Yeshiva of Flatbush High school, and Harlem School Of The Arts.

Vanessa developed and directed in conjunction with Birthright Israel NEXT, a show called “MONOLOGUES”: An evening of solo performances by 15 young adults, exploring their Jewish Identity, inspired by a 10-day trip through Israel.

Vanessa can be found at High Schools, Universities, Poetry Lounges, Synagogues, JCC’s and Federations performing and speaking about Jewish Identity and dissecting the complicated question of “What does Jewish look like to you? “

Vanessa received an M.F.A. in Acting from Trinity Rep Theatre Conservatory. She lives in Manhattan, where she recently published her first collection of poems and stories titled “The Last Kaiser Roll in the Bodega.”




Vanessa’s performance touches on issues of Jewish identity in a very relevant and hip way that transcends age and religious affiliation.  Everyone can relate to her and her message.  She is amazing! 

Jill Hagler, Associate Vice President Women’s Philanthropy, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County

When I stumbled across Vanessa’s ‘Ph.D. In Him’ poem, I had to track this woman down. She puts to words, what so many of us women have experienced and want to scream from the rooftops! 

Kristen Chenoweth, Tony & Grammy award winner

Vanessa Hidary is a fierce, brilliant voice who speaks the truth with such depth and wit that you will laugh and cry. I was fortunate enough to have her in my film “The Tribe,” and no matter how many times I watch her perform her spoken word piece, “Hebrew Mamita,” I still feel the same powerful rush of words so raw and timeless. Vanessa is a wonderful synthesis of modern culture with a strong dose of Jewish identity to redefine what being Jewish is in today’s world.

Tiffany Shlain, Film Director