When chronicling the unique characteristics of any social group, there are different categories of traits that can be addressed. One such category can best be described as “Hobbies” or “Pastimes”. These include activities that are pursued purely for pleasure, relaxation, or amusement, as opposed to occupations, obligations, or responsibilities. Within the Jewish Young Adult community, one of the most frequently observed hobbies is the activity of Discovering “New” Jews.
Discovering “New” Jews specifically refers to the detection of famous or influential people who were previously unknown to be Jewish. It does not refer to finding converts, but rather it means the outing of public figures as Jews to the wider JYA community. For example, singer Pink was found out to be Jewish from her mother’s side, and within two weeks every single JYA across the United States claimed to be a fan of her music. Alternatively, there is the example of the young actress Mila Kunis. Upon discovery of her Jewish heritage, the entire male JYA population country-wide felt she should break up with Non-Jewish Goyfriend Macaulay Culkin and date them instead.
The act of detection splits in to two separate categories, involving two different types of JYAs. First, there is the JYA who performs due diligence, or initial fact finding. These JYAs will go out of their way to seek out any information that could lead to the discovery of “New” Jews, like finding out that the owners of Timberland are big Hadassah donors. “Melissa”, a JYA living on the Upper East Side, displayed her fact-finding skills recently saying: “I totally saw Amanda Bynes at Kol Nidre at Emanuel last week!”.
Secondly, there is the JYA who prefers to disseminate or distribute the information that a “New” Jews has been discovered. These JYAs work closely with fact-finding JYAs, and use innovative means to spread data efficiently to the wider JYA community. “Joanna”, who is Melissa’s close friend and also a typical disseminator, made a recent posting on her “Camp Arazim Alum” Facebook group which stated: “My girl Melissa just saw Amanda Bynes at Kol Nidre! Where was she during color war 1995? For realz!”
There are other JYA hobbies and pastimes, but Discovering “New” Jews is arguably the most common, and also most global. JYA fact-finders and disseminators have embraced globalization to assist with the means, and improve the ends, of their initiative, making the discovery of “New” Jews a truly world-wide effort.
(Mila Kunis: Yes, she’s Jewish, now go tell everybody you know)