There are many films that capture the hearts and minds of Jewish Young Adults, but one film specifically has managed over time to become what could be the only JYA cult classic of all time: Dirty Dancing.
The 1987 romantic classic chronicles one summer in 1963 when (obviously Jewish) Frances “Baby” Houseman goes to a (obviously Jewish) family resort in the Catskills and falls for the (dashingly Non-Jewish) dance instructor. Baby’s parents clearly don’t approve of the un-kosher shidduch and drama ensues between father and daughter.
What makes this particular film a JYA favorite is that it touches on so many issues that are universal and timeless for the larger Jewish community; like hitting up daddy for money, hooking up at summer camp, practicing on Non-Jews, and contemplating rhinoplasty. In addition, many songs from the soundtrack have been staples at proms and AEPi mixers for the last two decades. As JYA “Tania” recently pointed out begrudgingly at her most recent local Matza Ball, “Ugh, there isn’t one guy here who even comes close to dancing like Patrick Swayze”.
Male JYAs are reluctant to reveal their affection for the film, but sources reveal that many a JYA male has attempted to recreate the infamous lift scene from the climax of the movie (risking back pain, concussions, or worse), in an attempt to impress the ladies. “Chicks dig the lift” noted local ZBT chapter president “Zach”.
Though there are other films that have managed to infiltrate the JYA psyche, Dirty Dancing will always hold a special place in the hearts, minds, and loins of JYAs for many years to come.
It is important to note that the 2004 sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, has negligible cultural credibility with the JYA community, and therefore should never be ordered on Netflix.