(Gram Hatima Tova to everybody)
As a traditionally marginalized group until the 20th century Jewish aggression has largely taken the form of passive aggression. This propensity for subtle guilt is notable in the lexis of Jewish mothers, whose desires are stated not as forthright requests, but a series of foregone, disappointing conclusions. “I’d like you to come home for my birthday” is a statement a typical Non-Jew might hear from his mother. The Jewish Young Adult, would likely hear this instead: “With the economy the way it is, I don’t expect you can take time off to come home for your mother’s birthday.”
If the JYA has somehow come to be confused about what that means and thinks his mother legitimately wants him remain at work, the statement would likely be followed up with. “After all, your job will be there long after I’m gone. Dr. Rosenberg—you remember Sarah’s father? She was in the gifted program in school with you? Anyhow, he says there’s nothing wrong with my health, but you never know.”
It is no surprise then that JYAs have a gift for passive-aggressive blame shifting that seems innate, and it is never more evident than on the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Each year Jews are traditionally expected to take a week to think about what they’ve done that they regret so they can start the year without old baggage and guilt. When they discover something they’re not proud of, they ask the person they’ve wronged for forgiveness and make amends. But, as in any social relationship or historical study, no two people see eye to eye on what happened or can agree on an historical narrative. It is in this grey area of atonement that JYA passive-aggressiveness rears its ugly head in the form of suggesting to others that they are at fault.
As JYA female “Karen” recalls: “I told Jason that he could apologize to me on Yom Kippur for giving me the same present for my birthday that I know for a fact he gave his last girlfriend. He was really pissed off, but like, I saw her wearing the same bracelet last week, I’m not stupid, you know.”
“Jason”, however, did not agree and stating: “So I told Karen that maybe she should atone for being such a huge bitch to me all the time. Like, at least I got her a present, how was I supposed to know it’s a huge deal? Every chick has that bracelet, what’s the problem?”
Non-Jews should not be startled by the increased amount of indictments and finger pointing between their JYA friends during the Yom Kippur season, as it is only a natural aspect of centuries of predisposed habit formation. Non-Jews should also remember that regardless of whether the accusations of culpability are justified, all is forgiven after Yom Kippur, yet rarely forgotten.