(idea submitted by Amanda G.)
The act of going to a Reunion is enjoyed by Jewish Young Adults and Non Jewish Young Adults alike. Attending a 10 year or 20 year high school or college reunion, for example, is a chance for Jews and Non Jews to mingle and socialize with old friends, relive fun memories, and confirm if those that were previously attractive are still attractive. What is unique about the JYA community is that their definition of “Reunion” is much wider and vaguer than those of Non-JYAs, resulting in numerous opportunities to attend such events. Arguably, the reason why JYAs attend so many reunions, either formal or informal, is their acute need to constantly compare themselves to their JYA peers.
For JYAs, the events that fall under the category of “Reunion” can be as informal as monthly poker games with your pals from Givati, or they can be as ceremonial as The Camp Young Judaea Midwest Annual Reunion Gala Extravaganza. JYA reunioning is also frequently based on shared experiences such as summer camps, Israel trips, or Jewish Fraternities. One JYA, “Ari” recently took a four hour Fung Wah bus ride on from Boston to Manhattan in order to attend a last minute birthday party of one of his former Birthright pals from the summer before. Upon arrival at the bar, “Ari” was greeted by boisterous shouts from many of his travel companions of “Deuce Deuce Represent!” in reference to the bus (Number 22) they rode on together throughout their ten day experience in the Holy Land.
JYAs enjoy reunioning to such a pointed degree where they are willing to suffer through long journeys and uncomfortable experiences just so they can scrutinize the status of their JYA counterparts. For example, “Tricia”, a JYA from Huntington Beach, flew to Miami for the wedding of a friend from Camp Ramah, of which they both graduated 10 years prior. Upon arrival at the reception, “Tricia” mentioned: “I can’t believe I flew six hours to get here and Jessica put me at the table with all those bitches from Cabin Six. Whatever, at least they’re all fat now”.
Whatever the distance, and regardless of their affection or lack thereof for the attendees, JYAs, like moths to a flame, will go to great lengths just to gather with other JYAs from their past. This deep rooted desire to meet with people from the past and just them does not dissipate over time, and arguably becomes more intense as the JYA reaches adulthood. Unfortunately, there is no cure to this ailment in the JYA community, therefore if you are a Non Jew who is in a relationship with a JYA, be forewarned that excessive reunioning is part of the package when dating a JYA. As a Non-JYA, you are unlikely to have fun at such an event, and if you feel yourself being scrutinized, odds are strong that you are.
(Hey Oranim 2006 Bus 5! Next year in Mercury Bar in Murray Hill!)