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Archive for March, 2010

(idea submitted and written by Amanda D.)

When a group of Jewish Young Adults gets together for some drinks and/or gossip, several topics of conversation are repeated from the typical JYA repertoire (see “talking about sex”). But there is one topic that is particularly vexing for non JYA companions, such as when the word shiksa is used without explanation. That topic is: Arguing about who’s mother has the best Brisket.

“Brisket?” The non JYA asks, still wondering how and why the conversation turned from sex positions, ”isn’t that just barbecued beef?”

The JYA’s just stare at this confused companion, unable to believe that he actually doesn’t know what “brisket” is. And each in turn attempts to explain this tasty phenomenon while still maintaining that their mom makes it better.

Brisket, the beef dish served at Jewish functions since the dawn of time, is a unique dish that maintains its position as the true star of dinners from Passover to Shabbat. Made from the fattier, denser part of the cow, the beef is covered in any combination of tomato sauce, jelly, ketchup, etc. and baked in the oven until it magically softens into a fall off your fork masterpiece that rivals any BBQ joint in the country.

Each brisket chef has their own special way of preparing brisket and often fiercely protects their recipes from outsiders. It is for this reason that, when asked what really makes mom’s brisket the very best, JYA’s are unable to come up with a solid response. As they fumble for an answer, words like – “ tomatoey” and “kind of sweet” are often repeated. But in truth, the JYA simply has no real idea what goes into their mom’s brisket. They only knows that its been eaten at every Jewish function held at home since they were born and that it tastes sooooo much better than when its eaten at the ———- house every year for Rosh Hashana. (name removed for my own protection).

As moms across the country fill Tupperware with their leftover holiday brisket for their JYA’s to take to their current homes, they probably do not realize that their children are in fact defending the deliciousness and integrity of their brisket on a regular basis. So next time you are handed this Tupperware of beefy heaven, kiss your mom on the cheek and let her know that her brisket truly is the best in the world.

Thanks for the inspiration, mom! Your brisket really is the best!

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Many industries are transparent and understandable, with clear definitions of their success and products.  For example, everybody knows what RIM technologies does (they make your Blackberry), and everybody knows what Levi’s does (they try hard to lure you away from your Seven Jeans).  And even if you don’t know, a quick Google search can reveal practically everything about a company.  One industry that is shrouded in secrecy and flies below the radar is the world of Books.  Interestingly, this industry, comprised of publishers, agents, and distributors, accommodates a large number of Jewish Young Adults in their roster, primarily in lit-centric cities like New York and London.

The appeal of working in the Book World is apparent to JYA’s: it gives them an outlet for costly degrees they earned in English, Creative Writing, or Sociology from famous upscale universities like Brandeis.  In addition, it allows them to get a paycheck for pursuing their nerdy/nebbish passion for reading books in candlelight.  Also, the Book World gives JYAs the pleasure of being on the cutting edge of many cultural trends that begin with literature and extend frequently into other realms like film and music.  Finally, working in the Book World gives JYAs the added benefit of talking about books, which makes them sound extra smart and trendy.

Ironically, much of the Book World is comprised of Jewish Adults and sometimes even Jewish Elders, which creates an intimidating dynastic front that is hard to penetrate.  Therefore, literature in general has a self-perpetuating Jewy trend that is constantly bolstered by a fresh crop of JYAs, eager to write about themselves and comment about themselves.

(Special note to all of our readers:  We need your help!  One of our writers completed his first novel and is looking for a lit agent for commercial/contemporary fiction.  If you have any leads please email us!)

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#99 Airing Grievances

Everybody feels frustrated and annoyed throughout the day for various reasons.  Some choose to bottle their aggravation, some choose to yell and scream.  For Jewish Young Adults, the preferred method of releasing their feelings of irritation is the subtle verbal art form known as Airing Grievances.

It is extremely important to note that Airing Grievances is not simply complaining.  Complaining, which is what Non Jews do, is defined as expressing dissatisfaction.  Airing Grievances, which is favored by JYAs is defined as publicly expressing dissatisfaction from being wronged.  This minor, yet major, difference is crucial for understanding the JYA psyche.

As an example below, both “Bob” and “Ari” are dissatisfied with their coworkers, yet “Ari”, the JYA approaches the situation differently:

“Bob” (Non-Jew):  Our business partners are very interesting.  They have some unique capabilities that may be a value-add for the company in the long run.

“Ari” (JYA):  Can you believe they made me work with those fools?  They are totally incompetent.  I mean, like, dude, how hard is it to Vlookup in Excel?

It is important to note in this example that JYA “Ari” is not complaining in the classic sense, but rather is airing his grievances in that he is indicating to all those around him that he has been wronged, and is forced to work with unqualified team members.

Another example is “Tina” and “Dalia”, both consultants in Boston, who are assigned to the same project with a third partner that they despise.   Note the difference between how both women complained to their boyfriends about the situation.

“Tina” (Non-Jew):  I just feel like if I was paired with a different counterpart I could better serve the needs of the client.

“Dalia” (JYA):  Now I have to fly to Dallas with that skank.  I’m not joking, she really is a skank.  You should see her Halloween photos on Facebook

Though the differences are subtle, “Tina” is complaining about the situation, while “Dalia” is clearly airing her grievance.

As we can see, for the JYA venting frustration requires two integral components:  first, that as many people as possible are aware of their irritation, and secondly, that those around realize that the JYA was wronged.

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