The latest episode of Glee, Mash-Up, is one of my favorites. It’s what I’ll be calling “the Jewish episode” for a long time. In the episode, Jewish character Noah Puckerman’s mom tells him (on Simchat Torah while they’re eating sweet and sour pork and watching Schindler’s List on TV) that he needs to go find a nice Jewish girl.
Later that night, Puckerman has an epiphany, basically a wet dream he believes is a message from G-d, about glee club’s nice “hot” Jewish girl Rachel (who in the dream is wearing a big Star of David around her neck). For most of the episode, they’re an item.
(In a joke that’s only funny if you’re in “the know” after reading Interfaithfamily.com, Rachel is played by Lea Michele, whose father is Jewish but whose mother is not. She was told she looked to “ethnic” for television. Meanwhile, Quinn is played by Jewish actress, Dianna Agron, who has expressed some…something…over playing a character with a big fat cross around her neck. On the show, Agron is a playing your typical blond Barbie cheerleader stereotype. )
The episode captures something that a lot of conversations about Jews dating non-Jews seem to leave out. These teens, and a lot of Jews dating and marrying non-Jews, aren’t thinking about saving Judaism (save for Puckerman during his epiphany and later when he notes “damn I feel like such a bad Jew” and puts on a kippah) or bringing about the destruction of Judaism or the extinction of Jewish people. They’re simply…in love. And usually people in love are only thinking about the person they’re making googly eyes at.
As the cheeky character Sue Sylvester (played by actress Jane Lynch who is a lesbian) later points out in an episode (when making a comment about being allowed to marry your pets, what the heck?!–obviously a dig at Prop 8), “Love knows no bounds.”
The Russian Jewish boy I dated in college, who broke up with me partly because I wasn’t a Russian Jew (and probably also because he was expressed racist tendencies towards Hispanics, including me and my “nappy” hair and “fat” legs), eventually married a nice Russian non-Jewish girl. The Russian Jewish friend who had introduced us became religious, inadvertently dragged me with him. and eventually, married a nice frum girl.)
Also check out:
“In Reckless Waters: Falling in Love with a Non-Jew” (Chabad.org)
“Straight-Talk About Assimilation: An Exchange” (The Forward)
3 thoughts on “An Episode on Jewish Relationships”
Ahh, “Baby Got Back”; a classic.
There's a classic scene in Scrubs: J. D. asks Turk what he should know about dating a black woman, and Turk answers, “The only difference between a black woman and a white woman is that when the former asks you if her butt is big, you answer, 'Hell yeah!'”.
And see here for my best friend, a Turkish-Sephardi Southern-USA Jewish cowboy, karaoke singing “Baby Got Back” at the Off the Wall Comedy Club in Jerusalem. Isn't kibbutz galiyot great?
Never imagined I'd see a guy in a kippah do that!
a friend of mine in middle school was obsessed with Baby Got Back…. if i remember correctly, he sang it at 4am the night of his bar mitzva party. and i had a female Dutch-Swedish-American Jewish friend in college who was also very fond of that song.