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  • Writer's pictureDaniela Weiss-Bronstein

Come and play!

I need a mental break from all the everything.

So here's what we were talking about over Shabbat:

If Sesame Street were Jewish. First my kid suggested Abby was the Jewish character because of her laugh, but we took issue with the shape-changing magical creature who can control the weather being the only Jew.

Instead we played If They Were All Jewish, What Kind of Jew Would They Be.

A partial list -

Telly is the first grandchild of 4 Holocaust survivors and anxiety is wired into every cell in his body. He is deeply loved and supported by his entire family but struggles to feel secure. While his parents have him seeing multiple therapists, they're wonderfully accepting of his quirks. He's home-schooled, but socializes with his friends after school hours.

Big Bird was raised in Vermont by parents who are neo-hippies. His dad grew up Chassidish, his mom was raised by anti-religious Soviet Jews. Big Bird knows nothing about Judaism except for the words tikkun olam.

Bert came from Tehran. His family was in Mashhad, and his ingrained trauma leads him to take pleasure in simple things, like collecting bottle caps and the freedom a pigeon has to fly where it pleases. He has infinite patience for those he loves because he knows that in the scheme of things, it could be far worse. And no, he will not be plucking his brows.

Rosita's family recently discovered their roots as crypto Jews who have been in Mexico for centuries. Family traditions like cleaning the house on Friday for a beautiful meal with lit candles while all the windows were covered have begun to make sense. They're all learning and exploring, but not yet formally moving back to living as Jews halachically.

Nina's family is Spanish-Porteugese and maintained their Jewish identity as they moved across the globe. They are still in shock at how Ashkenazi the US has become, including their own shul.

Chris is from Seattle, and moved to NY thinking there'd be more opportunities for him to date. He is really tired of NY Jews asking him when he converted. Or which of his parents isn't Jewish. They're Jewish, he was born Jewish, and he is going to snap if one more person asks him that at kiddish.

Zoe lives on the UWS and goes to Heschel. Her family is Syrian but people assume she's Ashkenazi. This alternately amuses and infuriates her parents.

Grover is Modern Orthodox and goes to HANC. He is a perfectly typical 4th grader in a yeshiva day school.

Prairie Dawn converted 40 years ago and functions as a Rebbetzin in her shul, but she will always sound non-Jewish. She is fully accepting of this fact, but it throws people who are new to her community. She's been known to play this up for laughs.

Oscar is an old Hungarian man who built an empire on garbage services. He embraces the broken things that the rest of the world rejects, both because he can see the value and because he's then free to live in a space that no one is fighting for.

Leela is an Indian Jew who is only interested in dating other Indian Jews. Chris had a huge crush on her but settled into a sibling relationship with her over the years.

Alan's family had been in Japan for almost 400 years when they moved to America for new opportunities. They had a difficult transition to the US after WWII.

The Count is from the Carpathian mountains. Aka he's Transylvanian. He's an accountant who has done very well for himself, leaving him able to afford satin-lined capes and a large mansion. He may play a little too on the nose for stereotypes about Jews as vampires.

Kermit the Frog is an earnest Jew who grew up going to Camp Ramah and recently spent 5 days straight calling the election on a major network. He's a fan of Gritty.

There are so many more to go!

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