Unless a given Jewish Young Adult lives in New York, New Jersey, or the HolyLand, he probably cannot arrange to spend all his social time in the company of Members of the Tribe. In these instances of Jewish Drought, an acceptable substitute is the Catholic Friend.
Catholics have a lot in common with Jews. While many Catholic Young Adults (though by no means all) have long ago given up on actual belief in the tenets of Christianity, they still feel inordinate pride in their Catholic identity. One CYA was recently heard saying, “If Catholics wanted to be boring and lame, we’d just be Protestant.” Both groups are feasibly accessible to mainstream (Protestant) America in a way that Hindus and Scientologists are not, but they are also perceived as having somewhat exotic and strange rituals and both have been accused of harboring dual loyalty. Opponents impugned that the first and only Catholic President would take his orders from the Vatican, rather than the American people, but unless the Pope mandated conjugal encounters with later Jewish convert Marilyn Monroe, their fears seem to have been unfounded.
If you are a JYA seeking a Catholic Friend or a CYA seeking a Jewish Friend there are several recommended topics of conversation:
First, Guilt. While Both Jews and Catholics are accompanied everywhere they go with the crushing sense of guilt, the experience is subtly different. Catholics worry a good deal less about their mothers and more about the sex and drinking. (Note: In a reaction that may confuse the novice, this shame will simply cause them to drink more and adopt the curious “everything but” policy when it comes to sex.)
This leads us to the second topic—drinking. The JYA may share his experience with drinking four cups of wine every Passover since he was young, and the CYA will reciprocate with a story of drinking a cup of wine before noon every Sunday. Naturally, this will usually segue into a discussion of off-putting foods. The JYA will report on the pulpy, gelatinous mess known as the gefilte fish and the Catholic will reciprocate with the consumption of the flesh of Christ.
Finally, JYAs will be able to connect with CYAs on the topic of Protestants. “It’s not that we like Catholics, it’s that we don’t like Protestants” JYA “Tamar” states. JYA “Dan” reported of the West Coast that: “I had a hard time connecting with my Grad School cohorts and I didn’t know why. And then I realized—they were all Protestant.” Indeed back in the midwest, Dan reports that he and his roommates instituted a “No Protestants” rule at their apartment. When asked if this prevented anyone from coming over, he said the rule had no effect.