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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

Last night, I finally saw that episode of Queer Eye with Adam Zalta (aka "The Jewish Guy.")

And I had fun with it. I don't just mean the normal fun of a QEftSG episode (or even the extra fun of my husband wondering if we could get them to do us - I'm serious. He was.) There was also the fun of "where is Adam on the spectrum." See, people told me that Adam was Orthodox, since his kitchen was kosher.

He's not. I'd place him as observant Conservative. It wasn't that he never wore a yarmulke, although that's suspect. It certainly wasn't that his wife did not cover her hair and wore a rather cute pantsuit in the end. Those could easily place her as Modern Orthodox.

The kosher kitchen could place them anywhere on the spectrum - there are nonreligious and Reform Jews who keep kosher kitchens. The mezuzot on the interior doors put them on the observant side of things, I *think*.

The real clues were that Ted gave them a nonkosher brand of champagne. The Conservative movement, for good and sufficient reasons, has decided that, other than for kiddush and Passover, wine need not be kosher. Or, rather, that all wine is permissible. This is because wine is no longer manufactured for idolworship. The Orthodox movement does not agree, so all wine must be kosher.

But the real telling moment was when Adam shaved. Orthodox Jewish men do not shave with blades. They consider that to be forbidden from the Torah. In earlier days, those men who didn't want beards used depilatories. These days, they use electric razors that mimic the action of scissors, and are thus acceptable. Adam had no problems using a regular bladed safety razor. (Also, and just on a personal note, I think he looked better unshaven. He just would need to shave the cheeks so it looks on purpose, not accidental.)

This, however, is something rather obscure, and not generally known outside the Jewish community.

I'm remember a Starsky and Hutch fic I read where the author gave Starsky a straight-edge razor that had been passed down in his family from the old country, and that's extremely unlikely. Nothing is impossible, of course, but it is unlikely. And it's equally unlikely that the writer of the story would know that, or even think to ask - it's not a reasonble thing for someone to ask.

Comments
champagne

(Haven't seen the show.) Did they drink the champagne? I once read a letter from a rabbi (I think at Ohr Somayach but am not sure) that said that if presented with a non-kosher food/drink gift in circumstances where it would be awkward to turn it down, you're supposed to accept it (to avoid distressing the giver) and then find a gentile to give it to later.

Not disagreeing with your conclusion; the razor sounds like clear evidence to me. Just wondering about the other point.

Re: champagne

Yes. They drank it. More to the point, the show went to great efforts to get kosher foie gras (which, unfortunately, none of the guests at his party liked). If the Zaltas had been strict on wine, it would have been perfectly in order for them to say so, at which point the show would have found a kosher champagne.

I just wanted to say again how much I love your "Jewish Minutia" posts. I like to learn interesting things & you explain things so well :)

I haven't watched the episode yet (I have it on tape and will watch it tonight), but I'm looking forward to it.

Kudos to you for being so observant (not religiously...I meant that you had an eye for detail).

Huh. I never put it together about the razors, but it explains why all the men on my mom's side of the family use them -- all the ones old enough to shave (and whose shaving habits I knew) grew up quite Orthodox, although I think we now even out to Conservative. ;)