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Archive for May, 2009

#80 Seven Jeans

seven-jeansThe world of fashion is fickle and fleeting, just like tastes are fickle and fleeting.  Rarely is there a specific piece of fashion retail that captures the attention of a wide group of people, and rarely does a wide population adopt a specific item and make it their own.  Even though, one specific item has become a prominent fixture in closets and dressers of Jewish Young Adults across the globe:  Seven Jeans.

Sevens, officially named Seven for all of Mankind, emerged out of LA in 2000, backed by Jewish fashion icon Marc Jacobs, and singlehandedly rejuvenated the fashion denim market in the United States practically overnight.  Very quickly Sevens took over the JYA fashion market as well, beginning with women and eventually spilling over to the men as well.

For female JYAs the appeal of Sevens was obvious from the beginning.   JYA “Shannon” summarized the appeal of the brand succinctly, stating “My ass looks so good in these”.

For males JYAs, the prerequisite for purchasing a pair of Sevens was the public recognition of the concept called Metrosexualilty, sometime around 2004.  Once it became acceptable for a males to show strong concern for their outward appearance and own hair products, male JYAs flocked to the brand as well, eager to attract female attention with their new jeans.

Even though there are plenty of high end designer jeans on the market today, Sevens remain a JYA favorite, from the malls of Los Angeles to the streets of London, and even in the boutiques of Tel Aviv.

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#79 Gaga

(dedicated to our friend Benji, 2nd runner up in the 1994 Southwestern US Gaga Championship tournament)

There are a handful of Jewish sports figures that have truly become household names over the years: Mark Spitz, Sandy Koufax, Max Baer, and Kerry Strug to name a few.  But for Jewish Young Adults, there are also countless unsung sports heroes scattered across the globe that will probably never get the credit they deserve for their prowess, agility, and dexterity, and will spend the rest of their days relegated to the unfortunate abyss of memories and legends.  The reason these unseen athletes will never see the spotlight is not because they lack physical ability when compared to their Non-Jewish counterparts, but rather because they play a sport that nobody knows but JYAs:  Gaga.

The game of Gaga, aka Israeli Dodgeball, is typically played in an octagonal enclosure, but any other completely enclosed space also works.  The point of the game is to eliminate other players by hitting a ball with an open hand or fist into the region at or below his/her knees.  That player is subsequently “out” and must leave the Gaga playing area, or “pit”.  The winner is the last one standing, and is rewarding with bountiful bragging rights.

There are a number of reasons why Gaga is popular with JYAs.  First, the sport became popular in Jewish summer camps across the Globe sometime in the late 70s, and has remained a steadfast pastime ever since.  Secondly, Gaga is non-discriminatory, non-denominational, and pluralistic, meaning that every type of person can play.  Indeed, many summer camps quickly formed Girls-only, Boys-only, and Counselors-Only leagues accordingly.  Finally, JYAs like Gaga because, unlike other Jewishly inclined sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Gaga has remained completely insulated from Non-Jews, meaning there is never any fear that Chris, the huge WASPY football player, will show up and wallop you.

The sport of Gaga apparently peaked in the mid/late nineties, followed by nearly a decade of decline.  But many sources have shown a recent resurgence of interest, including the first ever indoor arena (no joke), and there are even rumors that major sports brands are looking for star talent to sponsor.  Unfortunately, the sport of Gaga is not currently slated for the upcoming Olympic Games, but if current trends continue there is some hope that the Maccabiah games will offer the sport in 2025.

(Gaga at its finest)

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(idea submitted by Jesykah F.)

In the typical vein of generational relationships, children usually try to buck the trend set by their parents.  But sometimes certain traits transcend age brackets and becoming  unifying cross-generational factors.  One such example that has been adopted by Jewish Young Adults is the tendency to Assume the Worst.

worst outcome1The condition of Assuming the Worst has no clear origins, nor does it have a specific target.  Rather, when a JYA assumes the worst, it is usually ad hoc, and about the most trivial matters.  For example, JYA “Hannah” recently scuffed one of her new pumps and announced on her Facebook that “I have to find a new pair of shoes for work and there is no way that I am every going to be able to get to work and they are going to fire me and I will never be able to find a job again”.  Another example is JYA “Gary” who got snubbed for the ZBT formal and announced to his frat brothers that he “will never get poon ever again”

This JYA trait can be seen across the Atlantic as well.  One JYA teacher in Israel recently cancelled a full week of classes because one of her third graders caught a cold and the teacher immediately assumed the student had swine flu and would infect the entire school (true story).

Fortunately for JYAs, the worst case scenario rarely actually happens, unfortunately that does not stop JYAs from presupposing the worst possible outcome the next time a conflict arises.

It is important to note that JYAs assume the worst case scenario usually only when the issue at hand is trivial.  With more complex and serious matters, JYAs have typically proven to be more rational.

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#77 Blossom

(dedicated to Nina W.)

There are many television shows that have captured the hearts and minds of Jewish Young Adults over the years, from obvious favorites like Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm to more subtle preferences like Frasier.  But hidden underneath the layers of sitcom blockbusters there are a few gems that have gained cult classic status with the JYA community, one particular example being Blossom.

blossomBlossom was aired for five seasons in the early Nineties and chronicled the trials and tribulations of the Russo family through the eyes of their teenage daughter, Blossom, played by proud Jewess Mayim Bialik.   Even though the Russo family is not Jewish, Bialik’s character is so flagrantly in the Jewish closet that it is easy to pretend the whole show is about the Rabinowitz family and not the Russo family.

Female JYA’s dig Blossom because of her smart yet funky yet wholesome yet strong willed yet cool yet sophisticated vibe, and the fact that she always got the quality men.  Male JYA’s dig her next door neighbor, Six, played by covert hottie Jenna van Oy.

Even though the show was never a huge smash when compared to othe shows of that era, namely Rosanne and Home Improvement, JYAs still harbored a certain kinship to the lead character due to her blatantly Jewish heritage, as exemplified by her Hebrophilic name.  Soon after, Ms. Bialik left Hollywood to pursue academia, completing her PhD in 2008 and popping out Conservative babies along the way.  Unfortunately, the show has not reached syndication, yet.

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