Religion & Beliefs

What Flavor of New Jew Are You? (Part II)

Here it comes, my twice-yearly analysis of the New Jews that have surfaced in our modern era. Remember kids, this is all in good fun. So if you see a little bit of yourself in this, just laugh, because I … Read More

By / December 28, 2009

Here it comes, my twice-yearly analysis of the New Jews that have surfaced in our modern era. Remember kids, this is all in good fun. So if you see a little bit of yourself in this, just laugh, because I certainly have.



Exactly as it sounds: an epic combo of "Bro" and "Orthodox."

Seen wandering around Circle K gas stations on Sunday nights with his "boys", the Bro-thodox smells like Axe Body Spray, wears a white baseball cap backwards,  and has been seen hitting on Hot Chanis at kosher pizza shops, but making sure not to accidently touch them for fear of awkward Shomer Negiah moments. He jerks off to Jewish porn star Joanna Angel but will call his sister a "whore" for wearing a skirt that is above her ankle. He calls his next door neighbor "shvartze" but listens to hip hop, has a picture of the Rebbe on his mini-fridge but skips davening and after failing vet school will wind up working for his dad, the only person kind (and stupid) enough to put up with his oafish, lazy attitude. He’s the kind of guy who winds up making teshuvah in his mid-twenties and turning his asshole attitude into a fundamentalist, halachic requirement.

JCC Sluts

For some, spiritual enlightenment comes from being "as Jewishly connected as possible." This person is the JCC Slut. Their Blackberry reads like Shindler’s List: a collection of "steins," "bergs" and "mans" that they don’t really know on a personal level, but would have no problem calling up for a job recommendation, a deal on a car, or a chance to fundraise for their local Federation. A condo dweller by nature, this person is a "committee chairperson" for more Jewish organizations than probably exist. Their inner peace comes from IDF banquets at the local hotel, Limmud brainstorming sessions and Saturday night "Young Professional Singles" Parties sponsored by the local Reform synagogue. The Banana Republic skirt and too small jacket with not-too-slutty heels and gold "chai" necklace are a dead giveaway.

Jew Ager

This person takes Jewish Renewal to its logical extreme. With Tibetan prayer flags hanging from their sukkah and a picture of Krishna draped by blue and white "Hanukkah" lights, the Jew Ager (Jew/New Ager), is really a Universalist who was born into the Jewish tradition and just can’t give it up, despite really having no interest in Judaism, per se. They drink Yerba Mate from their Jewish National Fund mug and nearly shit themselves when they heard about the Abayudaya music from the Jewish people of Uganda. 

The Palestinian Jew

It’s really en vogue for college students to hate Israel. And the best are the Jewish kids who hate it. Coming home for a Passover seder, they proudly proclaim to their parents that they are hosting an anti-Birthright Israel party in the student center on the next Shabbos. With an "End the Occupation" button on their messenger bag and a "Free Palestine" bumper sticker on the Toyota Corolla their parents bought them, the Palestinian Jew is the epitome of American youth–totally clueless about anything and more than willing to shoot their mouth off, as long as their isn’t an actual Palestinian around who might correct them on their theories about Middle Eastern Politics. They don’t want a Two-State Solution, because then it would make them lose a soapbox to stand on. The Palestinian Jew has never befriended a Muslim (the hijab just looks too scary) but has certainly seen lots of them on Al-Jazeera. This person will later grow up to be a Jew Ager.

That Annoying Convert Guy

The name is John Smith, but he likes to be called "Adam Ben Avraham v’ Sarah." This person knows everything about the Holocaust and like to point it out to everyone, feeling a certain glee that he’s smarter than guys with names like Saul Bromowitz and Kyle Bergman. That Annoying Convert Guy only eats Cholov Yisroel dairy and goes into a rage when anyone suggests that OU is "just as good". For the Annoying Convert Woman, it’s all about getting into uncomfortable conversations with women about periods and mikvah and complaining about how unobservant the men on JDate are. The best way to piss off this person: point out that they are a convert, then watch them fly into a storm about how the Gemarrah says that pointing out a convert is a sin and that, since they do not wish to be called a convert, the person is giving up Olam Haba because calling someone a name "by which they do not wish to be called" leads to the destruction of the soul.