(submitted by Mike S. and written by Natalie K.)
While their parents had to contend with truly frightening maladies that disproportionately affect Jews like Tay-Sachs or building pyramids for Pharaoh, today’s JYAs take a more domestic approach and focus their grievances on highly specific and sometimes counter-intuitive gastrointestinal complaints that are the resulting of eating incredibly common foods.
Frequently, JYAs will claim to be lactose intolerant but will make an exception for goat cheese. Perhaps is it the same midrashic compulsion to find loopholes that gives us Shabbat Elevators that is responsible for the widespread refusal to acknowledge the lactose contained in goat cheese. It is not uncommon to witness a JYA send a meal back because there is cheese on it, but then be seen eating off a nearby goy’s plate or shaking parmesan cheese over the now cheese-bare dish.
Another favorite complaint of JYAs is a mild (never life threatening) allergy to wheat or gluten. Wheat and gluten are contained in everything delicious that is not lactose based, including pasta and bread. One might surmise from self-reporting that eating a cheese sandwich would kill a JYA. Observation would suggest that wheat and gluten allergies do not prevent JYAs from consuming these foods, it just grants them license to complain about the state of their stomach for hours after any meal.
JYAs are, however, prepared to combat these problems by using their arsenal of stomach medicines, but only after the requisite period of voiced anguish. A glance inside a JYA medicine cabinet will reveal at least three of the following: Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids, Beano, Tums, Prilosec, and/or Pepcid.
Mild food allergies allow the JYA to be as picky as a vegan without having their choice looked upon as moral posturing and in fact without having to substantively change the way they eat. The ubiquity of dairy and wheat products does not suggest to the JYA anything about food culture, rather it is a symptom of a world unfairly prejudiced against the Jewish people.