JILF-ing Us Softly: Desperately Seeking Stereotypes

Well, I never thought I’d say anything positive about The Coasties song, but at least when scraping the bottom of the barrel of Jewish stereotypes it managed to be minimally entertaining. I can’t say as much for this video on the site LoveNation.tv which examines “The Desirability of Jews” as a rising trend in finding potential mates. The video includes helpful tips on where to find available Jews (JDate), why they make such desirable partners (they love their mothers), things not to say when dating a Jew (they’re cheap, the women can’t cook), unpacks the complex meaning of the term JILF (Jew-I’d-Like-To-F**K), why they’re such a “hot commodity” (Seinfeld, the works of Judd Apatow, Madonna) and how best to woo a Jew (learn when the holidays are). The cherry on-top is when the co-host advises Jews on JDate to make a note on their profile if they’re not interested in dating non-Jews — as if signing-up for an online Jewish dating service was not sufficient notice?!

Oh G-d, I just threw up in my mouth.

The same co-host justifies going Jew-cruising on JDate by citing the book Microtrends which claimed that 11% of JDate users are not Jewish. Yeah, and at least 11% of women-seeking-men on Craig’s List aren’t women either, but that doesn’t make it a healthy social behavior.

This video’s danger isn’t in its regurgitation of hackneyed stereotypes and philo-Semitic fetishization — it’s that because the portrait it paints is relatively benign (say, compared to the average portrayal of Jews in a Middle Eastern newspaper) that some will actually be flattered by it. Please, please, please don’t make the mistake of believing that because we can be objectified like everyone else, that this somehow represents progress. At best, one could make the argument that millions of outreach and engagement dollars targeted at convincing under-engaged young Jews that Judaism can be “cool,” are having some unintended consequences.

Let me be clear that my disgust at this video is no reflection on the thousands of couples involved in interfaith relationships. If you choose to love someone who is Jewish and they love you back, odds are that your reasons go well beyond the fact of their Jewishness. Interfaith couples have real issues and the Jewish community, especially at this Center, should be extending a welcoming hand to those couples to make them feel comfortable. The same goes for Jews-by-Choice. But let’s give them the respect they deserve and not treat Jewish identity like a cute haircut or a sexy dress.

Anyone who thinks it would be tasteful to create a primer on how to get and date a Jew need only replace the word “Jew” with “African American” in the video below to realize how wrong an idea that is.

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