I’m a Marxist, but I recently took a summer analyst position at Blackstone. I want a stable future, and honestly the cash is insane, but recently I’ve been having trouble sleeping– every time I start to drift off, I feel like my copy of Das Kapital is staring me down. What should I do?
Dear Annoyingly Privileged Person,
The beauty of a Princeton liberal arts education is that no matter how much you try to explore the vast material of the humanities, you’ll still buy into the centuries-old system of self-perpetuated socioeconomic elitism and WASP culture (just ask the Jews-in-Ivy Groupme). Take the job and then justify it to yourself by donating 5-10 percent of your salary to progressive causes (yeah, we took Practical Ethics). When they won’t take your dirty Wall Street money, tell yourself that Hillary’s Super PAC is good enough. Whatever helps you sleep at night. Plus, Marx was only a History major because he couldn’t pass COS 126. You know he would’ve taken that Google signing bonus.
Zach & Ben
I matched with my crush on JSwipe. Twice. What’s the next move?
First, consider the fact that she’s probably not actually interested. What if they accidentally swiped the wrong way? What if there’s a glitch in the JSwipe code? What if you actually look better in your JSwipe photos than you do in real life and you’re just living a lie and will never satisfy a woman?
Second, anxiously consider the fact that you probably wouldn’t be a good match in real life anyway. People are so particular these days. Plus, you say you’re reform and she says she’s conservative. What if that’s too much for you? What if she’s lying about being conservative and she’s really just a shiksa lookin for some Jewish peen? Is she kosher? Is she bad in bed? (Probably.) Will she think you’re bad in bed? (Definitely.)
Third, anxiously consider the fact that your parents won’t approve of the fact that you met on JSwipe. They’ll ask and you’ll have to come up with a story. They’ll ask more questions and you’ll become trapped in a web of lies. They’ll ask what JSwipe is and you’ll say it’s like Tinder, but then have to explain what Tinder is. They’ll ask what JSwipe is and you’ll say it’s like JDate and they’ll think you paid for a dating service. They’ll ask what JSwipe is and you’ll say it’s sponsored by Birthright and they’ll ask why you don’t just meet a nice Jewish girl on Birthright. You will feel their judgement and she will their judgement and the whole thing will be a disaster.
Finally, never message her and hope you meet someone at schul. Or on Birthright.
Zach & Ben
How upset will my Jewish mother be if I don’t marry someone Jewish?
—Traitor to the Tribe
This is the 21st century. There’s no real panic about marrying within the tribe. We live in a pluralistic society where we have to embrace cultural differences and understand that we cannot live in a religious bubble. We can no longer subscribe to our parents’ socio-cultural norms. Judaism was once a religion that challenged authority. Remember Moses who, with the blessing of Hashem, stood up to the Pharaoh for the good of his people. Moses would never have been complacent in the face of adversity, and neither should you. Speaking of Moses, do you know who I saw at Pesach services this year? Joshua Mendelbaum. Do you remember him from Hebrew School? He was a grade above you. He’s starting medical school now, at Penn. Can you believe that? He’s going to be a doctor. A neurologist. What a smart kid. Remember when he wrote that horrible d’var for his Bar Mitzvah? Who would’ve thought? Anyways, remember to stick to your convictions. You should be with the person that makes you happy… I think that was a line from Joshua’s d’var. Oh, Joshua…Not like that last boy you dated. What’s he doing now? He’s studying English? There’s no money in English. I hear Joshua’s single. Have you talked to him recently? Stable job. Cute boy. He has good parents. You should call Joshua.
Actually, don’t worry, we’ll let him know you’re interested.
Zach & Ben
Hipster or Hasidic?
—Clearly a Gentile
Believe it or not, reform rabbis have been puzzling over this issue for as long as “hipster” has been a term. What does it mean to be a hipster? What does it mean to be Hasidic? How do those two identities mesh and resist each other within the modern Jewish tradition? Here’s our take.
“Hipsterism” is a challenging state of being, a resistance by privileged teens to their very privilege, and for that reason, it is both imitative of and hostile towards its own existence. Just think of how hard it is to own 6 pairs of Common Projects and be weighed down by the oppressive choice each morning of whether or not to go with the pure whites or the just-off-whites. Not to mention the fact that everyone else is wearing them, and so by wearing them yourself, aren’t you not being a “hipster”? Or are you being a hipster because you’re accepting this challenge in your life (of being literally just like everyone else), and that’s like, super alt?
We’re not sure.
Then we have Hassidism, a zealous religious movement many historians have traced back to its origins as a resistance movement to anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe in the early 1800’s. Challenging real oppression (pogroms, resettlements, etc.) with real resistance.
It’s hard, as scholars ourselves, to deem one movement as having greater merit for existence than the other. One the one hand, we have a legitimate societal critique and social justice movement, prompted by the people and in service to the people. And then there’s Hasidism.
As to what movement we embody ourselves, we leave that one for you to decide. But here’s a hint: (A transcript of Ben’s internet history over Thanksgiving Break)
“Thursday, November 3, 11:17 AM | Master-Piece Co: Black Buckle Backpack | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:18 AM | Vetements: Purple ‘Sexual Fantasies’ Hoodie | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:22 AM | Jimmy Choo for Men AW16 Collection | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:24 AM | Dr. Martens for Men AW 16 Collection | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:27 AM | Common Projects for Men SS16 Collection | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:33 AM | Common Projects: Black Perforated Slip on Sneakers | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:34 AM | Common Projects: White Classic Slip on Sneakers | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:35 AM | Common Projects: Pastel Green Slip on Sneakers | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:36 AM | Common Projects: White High Top Sneakers | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:37 AM | Common Projects: Pastel Pink Slip on Sneakers | SSENSE
Thursday, November 3, 11:42 AM | Acne Studios for Men SS16 Collection | SSENSE”
Baruch atah Adonai,
Zach & Ben
If we wed, will our children be bar/bat mitzvah’d though I am a gentile?
We’re two forward-thinking, conveniently progressive, and genuinely compassionate Jewish college students. Of course we’d consult with you about making this decision—it’s not an easy one. After all, giving your child a B’nai Mitzvah is basically an entrance into the Jewish tribe, a wonderfully illustrious, diverse group of people steeped in traditional values like upholding the importance of education, compassion and righteousness, and one that has… you know… been under assault for most of its existence? I know you knew that, but I’m just reiterating it because it seems like you forgot. Like… we went to services together that one time, and my Rabbi said something along those lines during his d’var Torah—and you were like “what’s a d’var Torah? Is it a sexual thing?” and we talked about it afterward, so I’m just confused that you don’t remember? Because I remember. And you know, if it mattered to you, you wouldn’t forget, because like, people don’t just forget things like that. Unless it doesn’t matter to you. Not that I’m accusing you of that, but not that I’m also not accusing you of that. I mean I think “accuse” is the wrong word, even though I used it myself, and what I think the real issue is tha—