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How My Jewish Life is Everything (and Nothing) Like Midge Maisel’s

*WARNING: Spoilers ahead*

Amy Sherman-Palladino, Creator, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

As a major “Gilmore Girls” fan, I’d been counting down the days until the first season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was released on Amazon Prime. Ever since Rory’s Yale graduation, I desperately yearned for more of that fast talking, pop culture filled walk and talk scenes that creator Amy Sherman Palladino (ASP) loves to write. Honestly, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” could have been a total flop, and I still would have watched the entire series for the sole reason of it being created and written by the one-and-only ASP. I mean, I watched all 18 episodes of “Bunheads” – need I say more?

But as I finished watching the final episode of the first season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – I was filled with that same tingly, happy feeling that “Gilmore Girls” used to give me. Except this time, the jokes and references felt personal. I felt like Ms. Palladino’s writing was directed at me, hoping to relate to my odd sense of humor and love of using Jewish culture in everyday life. I had this weird feeling that I was just like the show’s protagonist Midge Maisel….well, except for that minor difference of me living in 2018 versus 1958.

I felt like Midge and I were soul sisters living 60 years apart.

In episode 1,  Midge bribes the owner at The Gas Light comedy club with a brisket every week to get her husband, Joel, a better time slot. I bribe my IT department at work with my grandma’s mandel bread to get them to more quickly fix my computer issues. Oh, and just like Midge, I also make great latkes.

As I made my way through each of the next 7 episodes, I continued to feel like – almost – every scene could have happened to me, even though they most definitely did not. Midge complaining about her husband turned ex, Joel, dating a Methodist version of herself? Oy, do I get it. Explaining Yom Kippur to a gentile? Why would you voluntarily choose to not drink coffee for an entire day?!

Since I finished my marathon viewing of Season 1, I’ve spent time telling every single person I know to watch this show – especially if they are Jewish. I excitedly watched the whole season a second time, and am now listening to a podcast that discuss the pop culture references, “Gilmore Girl” similarities, and ASP-isms in the show. I mean, I listened to every episode of “Gilmore Guys as they re-watched every episode of that series. So, of course I’m going to listen to every episode of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Goys” as they do the same thing (same hosts, different “punny” name).

But as I continue to immerse myself in the land of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, I have started hearing many varying opinions, and finding my own criticisms, about the show’s portrayal of Judaism and Jewish people. Some viewers feel that the show portrays Jews in a negative light by exacerbating Jewish stereotypes. Others comment on the Jewish inconsistencies in the show. Some of the common critiques I hear range from:

  • Why isn’t Midge Maisel played by a Jew? The actor should be Jewish!
  • Why does Abe Weisman wear a tallis at Friday night services?
  • Why is Moshe Maisel working on Yom Kippur?
  • Why are they selling pork chops at the butcher?

Although I have my own perspectives about these complaints, for the most part, I think the show is supposed to be comedic. I find that the joy and laughter I experience while watching the show is partially due to seeing the stereotypes I’ve heard for years unfold on screen. For me, it’s what makes the show so relatable and hysterical.

While observing the many Jewish inconsistencies apparent in the show, I also came across the realization that my life is absolutely nothing like Midge Maisel’s! Very shocking, I know. For starters, Midge Maisel and I are both 26 years old and our lives could not look more different. She is married with two kids, works as a stay-at-home mom, has never left her hometown except for college, and has never held a paying job. Learning how to clock in was a big deal for her. I, on the other hand, am single, living in my fourth new city since leaving my family in Florida, and am currently employed at my third full time job. I have been mostly self-reliant for the past five years.

While I love watching Midge’s relationship with her parents Abe and Rose, and I burst out laughing every time they are on the screen, my parents are pretty much the opposite of hers. If Abe and Rose are the definition of stereotypical Jewish parents, then mine are the opposite.

The one thing Midge’s father, Abe, told his daughter Midge before going to that “goy”-isch college? “Don’t pick a weak man to marry.” What my Dad told me before going to college? “Make sure to take business classes so you’re well prepared for a successful life after college.”

Rose’s first response to Joel leaving Midge? “Midge – what did you do?!” My mother’s likely response? A loving, supportive hug.

Abe’s response to Joel leaving Midge? “Fix yourself up and get him back. You cannot be on your own.”  What my Dad has drilled into my head for the past (at least) eight years of my life? “Make your own money and be able to support yourself. And don’t get married young, enjoy your life.”

While I am still raving about “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as a whole, and definitely wish I were as quick-witted as Midge, I’m starting to appreciate the ways my life is different from hers. I’m thrilled to have the unconditionally loving, supportive, warm, pro-feminist parents that I have. 

Also, I will never put on makeup before my future husband wakes up in the morning as Midge and her mother do. This seemed to me, like something done in the 1950s because the way a woman was viewed physically by a man was of utmost importance in society. Women may have measured their bodies regularly, like Midge does, and feel the need to look perfect all the time.

I am thrilled to live in an era where women have so much more value than just their looks. Although, we certainly still have a ways to go, I know that my skills and knowledge give me certain choices and freedoms that I would not have had sixty years ago.

Regardless of this, I still recommend this show to everyone. And, I very much look forward to continuing to quote this show in my day-to-day life. Oh, and I’m definitely going to hire Bottle Dancers at my future wedding. A girl can dream, right?

 

 

 

About the Author: Marisa Briefman is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you. She is a recent DC transplant who was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida – likely where your grandparents live. Her love of all things Jewish began at overnight camp and continues to thrive in her role at JSSA. She is coffee addict, lover of Mexican food, and on a permanent mission pet all the adorable dogs in DC (if someone is in need of a dog-sitter, email me).

 

 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

The Best Galentine’s Day Ideas For You & Your Lady Friends

My very favorite time of year is the week after the New Year.

Why?

Because every year, one day that week, I celebrate my love for my galpals and get to revel in the fact that I am surrounded by so many talented, strong, and beautiful friends inside and out. We brunch, we bond, and we fight over the coolest present during our belated white elephant gift exchange.

For the past 10 years, this girl-bonding time has been my beloved tradition. And today, it appears that this concept of celebrating your favorite ladies has evolved into its own holiday – Galentine’s Day – in much part due to Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s “Parks and Recreation” character. Galentine’s Day, for those who are not aware, occurs every year on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day and is a time to get together with your girlfriends and celebrate how much you love one another.

No matter what day you celebrate, it’s always nice to take time to honor your friendships and enjoy good company. So, whether you want to kick it over waffles and leave your partners at home like Leslie, or create your own tradition – here is some inspiration for your next girlfriend gathering.

How to Celebrate Galentine’s Day This Year

Throw a party for your whole squad: Pretty invites, fun activities, festive food, gift exchanges…bring on the friendship fete of the year. Check out these comprehensive guides  for DIY party or an HGTV inspired soiree.

Go on an adventure

Find a last minute travel deals or stay in the city and take a flower arranging class, celebrate powerful women, or head to drag brunch.

Connect to Judaism

Rosh Chodesh, a minor holiday that marks the beginning of every Hebrew month, has long been a time for Jewish women to gather for a wide variety of activities. According to MyJewishLearning.com, women come together to recite traditional liturgy, share a meal, discuss Jewish ethics, or work for social change according to. This is a perfect time of the year to form a group of gals to meet every month.

Snag a spot at GLOE’s Torah and Sexuality class, “Exploring Esther & Female Sexuality in Judaism”

Make some more lady friends!

Check out Sixth and I’s Not your Bubbe’s Sisterhood or Jewish Women International’s Young Women’s Leadership Network

Host or attend a Galentine’s Day Shabbat dinner.

Moishe House Bethesda is hosting a Galentine’s Day Shabbat (nourished by OneTable), and check out others – or get money to host your own – here.

Take some time to connect

Why not use Galentine’s Day as an excuse to reconnect with old friends? Send snail mail to your BFF from college. Facetime with your new-mom friend so you can catch up, and read her baby a bedtime story. Tell your running buddy you’ll be there to cheer for her on and off the track.

No matter how you celebrate, I hope you have a fun Galentine’s Day celebration and enjoy the friends that make your life so wonderful!

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Stacy Miller is a part of our “Gather the Bloggers” cohort of talented writers who share their thoughts and insights about DC Jewish life with you. enjoys entertaining her large Jew crew at her home and is currently the Director of EntryPointDC, the 20s and 30s program of the Edlavitch DCJCC. She represents all things Northern Virginia as the Founder of NOVA Tribe Series and is a former GatherDCGirl of the Year Runner-Up. Most importantly, she wants you know she LOVES this community a-latke.

 

 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Jewish Girl of the Week – Abby/Ms. Avi

 

Abby recently published her book “Secrets of Shiksa Appeal: Eight Steps to Attract Your Shul-Mate.

Why do you deserve to be Jewish Guy/Girl of the Year?

I’m not quite sure I deserve to be Jewish girl of the year since I live in NY now, but why shy away from shame-less self-promotion and any chance to make fun of Stephen Richer?  I’m that girl who wrote the Jewish Dating guide,  “Secrets of Shiksa Appeal.” I also write for JMag and I miss all my DC friends.  Vote for meeeeee!!!!! 🙂

I don’t have much else to say, but will include a link to the Columbia Business School video about why Jewish women are hot:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11p1cWrdRhs&noredirect=1

 

We know you in DC as Abby. What’s with your pen-name “Avi Roseman”?

Ms. Avi is my better-looking, marriage-obsessed, alter ego.  She only takes pictures with lots of airbrushing, sets up everyone she encounters, and takes no prisoners.  The name Ms. Avi comes from my Hebrew name, Avigail, and is the name I used on my singles blog for ShalomNova.org.  There was no way I was going to use my real name on this book. If you read it, you’ll get why…

Does your book tell Jewish women to conform to shiksa stereotypes?
It literally started out as just a dating book for Jewish women, but then I decided it needed an edge. This is a book for Jewish women to attract Jewish men (by using some techniques that shiksas use to get guys), but encourages us to embrace our Jewishness at the same time.  It advises women how to dress, act, meet men, date, and how to make him fall for you.  People sometimes think based on the description that this is a book to encourage Jewish women to become shiksas.  It’s not at all.

Your book is written for women (though men find it just as interesting). What advice do you have for the Jewish men in DC?
1. If you’re looking for a Jewish girl to date, she’s probably not hiding under a rock, and you absolutely have to make an effort to attend events to meet other Jews or go online. Dating is effort.  (Editor’s note: Maybe try the GTJ Happy Hour on Thursday?)

2.  If there’s a girl you want to ask out, don’t wait for your two groups of friends to magically hang out together – just ask her out! (Or get her contact info.)  I think that emailing a girl is a great way to ask her out, because it doesn’t put her on “the spot” and allows her time to craft a response.

3.  In the beginning keep the chemistry and the excitement going by making sure that you don’t let much more than a week go by between that 1st and 2nd date.  Same goes for the time between the 2nd and 3rd dates.  Waiting two weeks between dates just kills chemistry.

Does Gather the Jews get a shout-out in your book?
I cannot answer such questions…okay, see page 40.

Where can we find your book?
Check out our website www.msavitheyenta.com to see the stores that the book can be ordered from currently. Coming to Amazon/B&N in September.   Like us on Facebook at Secrets of Shiksa Appeal to find out more info and see articles from the NY Jewish Week and the Baltimore Jewish Times.

 

 

 

 

 

Bumping into a former J-date at synagogue

Jewish Girl is a young professional Jew living in Washington, DC.  The views expressed in this piece belong solely to Jewish Girl.

I’m a veteran J-dater.  Veteran in the sense that I no longer subscribe to that infamous Jewish dating website, but, in my time, I went out on many first and second J-dates.  I’d go so far as to say too many.

Why too many?  Because now I can’t go to a synagogue in this town without seeing a parade of past dates.  Besides the gentleman who were kind enough to take me out (and I do thank you all, for the most part it was lovely), I also encounter those who I had to politely decline at Jewish singles mixers of the past.  Oh, the joys of being a single Jewish woman in DC.  Huzzah.

This is not to say I don’t enjoy the many “young professional” Shabbat dinners and events that DC has to offer.  I like seeing friends and meeting new people.  There is no ring on my finger, so I’m not opposed to meeting single men with the idea that one day we can assure the continuance of secular Judaism with our offspring.

The problem is, at times, the presence of an old date will interfere with my ability to attain the inner peace I seek when I go to shul.  The last time I went to Shabbat services at a certain synagogue (which shall remain nameless to protect my identity), the rabbi discussed the difficulty of being as beautiful a person on the outside as you are on the inside.  He was not talking about exfoliating.  The challenge is to reflect on the outside our inner light of Hashem.  But it’s really hard to be good, even on just one night of the week, when the sight of an old fling makes me turn to my girlfriends and gossip.

So, to you GTJ guys, this is my pledge: I promise to be better at navigating the social waters of the DC Jewish community, to keep my memory short and sweet, and to bite my tongue when I don’t have something nice to say.  In return, I ask for the same respect, and a few ground rules for Shabbat and the rest of the week:

1.      If we’ve been on a (failed) date and we happen to make eye contact, let’s just smile politely at one another and/or nod in greeting.  If you can’t manage that, and you can’t make small talk, do not resort to bringing up our past.  I’m really sorry it didn’t work out, but the odds in this town are greatly in your favor as single women far outnumber single men.

2.      If I’ve already said no, or haven’t returned your calls, please take a hint.

3.      When it’s Shabbat, please tone down your game.  Don’t corner me into conversation, or whip out your cell phone to get my number and make a date.  Let’s keep the peace, please.

Shabbat Shalom!