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More stuff and a separate Web site: Stuff Jewish People Like – The Blog!
Come on… like you didn’t see it coming.
Riffing off of the success of Stuff White People Like, I’d like to present a list of “Stuff Jewish People Like.” Enjoy and feel free to criticize or add your suggestions!
All You Can Eat Buffets: This should probably be listed under Stuff Old Jewish People Like but I can’t help but notice that there are no Kosher All You Can Eat Buffets in Jerusalem, the Upper West Side, Pico Robertson or Le Marais. It can’t just be because of the old people. Luckily however, there are plenty of All You Can Eat Buffets in Chinatown and in Suburban strip malls and while they may not be kosher, the Jews love them! Why? Maybe it’s a throwback from the impoverished shtetl days where quantity was valued above quality. Maybe it’s a remnant of our history of anti-Semitism where a Jew never knew if a particular meal was his or her last before they had to pack up their belongings and run away from the Cossacks and who knew when they could eat properly again? Whatever it is, despite their relative wealth and freedom from anti-Semitism, the Jews, they love them a good fress!
Validation from the Goyim: Jews sometimes behave like Canadians. Allow me to explain. In Canada, the quickest way for an emerging artist, writer or musician to be taken seriously is to achieve success south of the border. It’s as if popularity in America is the ultimate validation – the greatest proof that someone is worth being taken seriously. It’s kind of the same with the Jews. Like what’s the ultimate compliment you can give to a kosher restaurant? The fact that you can bring your goy friends there and they won’t even know it’s a Kosher restaurant! The fact that non-Jews like Matisyahu, that SoCalled plays at European music festivals, that makes them more acceptable to Jews. Graduating from Harvard gives you more yichus than graduating from Hebrew Union College, the cover of the Rolling Stone is better than the cover of the Forward, dating Leonardo DiCaprio is cooler than dating uh… Abe Foxman. You know what I mean…
Remembering the Holocaust: With greater acceptance in mainstream America, many Jews felt that traditional manifestations of Jewish identity were, well, kind of uncool. While sill tenaciously maintaining their identity, Jews needed something with which to anchor it – and there ya go, the Holocaust fit the bill perfectly! Of course it is important to honor your dead, but often times Jews use the Holocaust as the central tenet of their identities, as if before the Holocaust, there was no good reason to be a Jew. Consequently Jewish communal resources are inordinately dedicated to Holocaust-based organizations, Museums and memorials. Is it any wonder that newer generations of Jews are uninterested in an identity based on virtual necrophilia? But still, that Holocaust train keeps a chuggin’ along!
Old Timey Jew Food: On the Lower East Side on Houston Street, within two blocks of each other, you can visit both Russ and Daughter’s and Yoni Schimmel’s Knishery. Within these establishments on most Sundays, one can find Jews from all over New York and the US taking a gastronomic trip down memory lane by chowing down on all manner of bagels and shmears and lox and smoked fish and knishes and kugels and latkes. They bring their kids with them, they get all misty as they bite into the food their parents and grand parents used to eat. This scene gets replayed all over – from Schultzies in Miami to Schwartz’s in Montreal, from Canter’s in LA to Joe Goldberg’s in Paris. Never mind that this food is mostly unkosher and not particularly Jewish – what’s important is that Jews sure do love their Old Timey Jew Food!
Free Stuff: See All You Can Eat Buffet
Israel/Anti-Semitism: See Remembering the Holocaust
*** NEW! More Stuff Jewish People Like!! ***
Answering a Question with Another Question: “What do I mean?” What am I supposed to mean? Many attribute this unique cultural predisposition to Talmudic scholarship, particularly the Gemara. The Gemara (500 CE) represents Rabbinical analysis of the Mishnah (200 CE) and is presented in the form of questions and answers in a kind of virtual debate. Others attribute this ethnic trait to Jews just being shifty and never wanting to give you a straight answer. Who is right? What? Do I look like a Talmudic scholar?
Florida: Jews frickin LOVE Florida, particularly Boca Raton and Miami. Every December they descend upon these cities like a swarm of locusts. Is it any wonder then that the most well attended Matzo Ball parties are in Boca and Miami? It’s easy to understand why though. Most of the visiting Jews are there to escape the cold North Eastern winters where they live. It’s also nice to get away from all that incessant Christmas mishegas, and well, since Florida is a thriving destination for retirees, they get to visit Bubbe and Zaiyde too. Add to that the existence of many establishments that sell Old Timey Jewish Food and really, it’s no wonder the Jews love the State of Florida. Well all except for the North and the Gulf Coast. That’s for the Rednecks.
Famous Jews: Remember when Eliot Spitzer was Governor of New York? The Jews loved him! And Ari Fleischer? Oy such naches – President Bush’s Press Secretary, a Jew! And of course we all love Jon Stuart, the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. What about Sasha Baron Cohen? The Jews adored Borat! And yet… Spitzer never had a bar mitzvah and married out. Fleischer and Stuart and Cohen are also married to non-Jews. In fact, very few famous Jews, from the ones I already mentioned to Scarlett Johansen, Sarah Silverman, Amy Winehouse, Leonard Cohen, Norman Mailer, The Beastie Boys etc. are particularly, you know, Jewy. However, it seems that their fame more than makes up for it and we tend to uncritically embrace them as we would a warm knish after Yom Kippur. Unless of course they get caught ordering prostitutes, or they marry their ex-girlfriend’s children. Then we cry “Shanda Fur the Goyim!” But barring that… Jews sure do like famous Jews.
Ailment Oneupmanship: I wish I could say this only applies to old Jewish people, but I know I’ve witnessed young ones doing it too. This happens when you get a group of Jews together chatting about this and that. At some point someone starts to kvetch (complain) about the headache they had that afternoon. Then another talks about their painful heartburn, and before you know it we have brain tumors, aneurysms and even made up stuff like, I don’t know, cancer of the eye. It’s a sort of game where the winner is the one with the most horrific disease. Why do Jews do this? Well, you know how tight Jews are right? They do this oneupmanship thing to make each other feel good. I mean if you had a headache for an hour, and it made you feel bad, when your friend tells you he has cancer of the eye it helps put everything into perspective and then you don’t feel so bad. Clearly your friend is a tzadik, a righteous person. OK so he’s a fucking liar, but still, what a tzadik!
Unaffiliated Jews: According to all the major Jewish demographic studies, the fastest growing denomination in Judaism isn’t Orthodox or Conservative or Reform. It’s no denomination. These mamzerim (bastards), it’s feared, are going to cause the end of Judaism. But much like that guy who never calls or that gal who won’t give you the time of day, it seems Jews are fascinated by the unaffiliated. They ask themselves “Why don’t they come around? Where are they? What do they want? What are they thinking? How can we get them to take our calls? What can I do to make them like me?” They spend massive sums of money trying to attract them, have endless conferences about them and even judge the success of many of their programs by how many of them they can attract – even if it means watered or dumbed down content. They try to entice them with free stuff, hip music, money even sex! Unaffiliated Jews tend to not contribute to their community institutions or causes, yet they are an endless source of fascination and longing for the Jews.
Doctors: Man do Jews like Doctors. I feel like it’s such a cliché that it’s almost not worth talking about. It’s like every Jewish mother’s wet dream – Jews want their children to either be a Doctor or be married to a Doctor. It’s like the ideal profession – combining respectability, implied intelligence and a good, steady income, as well as the attendant bragging rights for the parent involved. Now remember, I’m talking medical Doctors. Your PhD in English Literature might allow you to use the designation “Doctor,” but really, your Mother cries herself to sleep every night wondering where she went wrong.
WASPs: That’s right, Jews like to emulate White Anglo Saxon Protestants. Well at least American Jews do. They have always wanted to live where they live, to golf where they golf, vacation where they vacation, go to their schools, talk like them, look like them and dress like them. And the WASPs? Well ya gotta give them credit. They tried to keep the Jews Jewish by not letting them into their clubs, schools and daughters’ pants, but the Jews are an obstinate bunch – it says so in the Torah! They changed their names, amassed great wealth and lavished WASP institutions with massive endowments. The women straightened and dyed their hair blond, the men wore duck boots and polo shirts and pursued lithe blond shik… err, non-Jewish women with great gusto. It’s gotten to the point where the quintessential WASP-style fashion designers are Jews – Ralph Lauren (Polo Shirts? When did Jews ever play Polo??) and Calvin Klein (his minimalistic approach to fashion with muted colors and clean lines are reflective of a WASP sensibility). I mean you can walk into Yeshiva University and judging by all the crew neck sweaters, Polo shirts, Penny Loafers and Khaki Pants, you’d think you had just walked into some bucolic Vermont village. Jews like WASPs so much that it now seems that they are in fact more WASPY than actual WASPs.
Kvetching: See Ailment Oneupmanship
I could go on and on… so, what other Stuff do Jewish People Like?