All this arguing about whose Judaism is more authentic is giving me shpilkes. And not the good kind. In all the movements– Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and everywhere in between–there are people who are devoted and people who are just going through the motions, people who are educated and people who are not, people who are on a spiritual search and people who are apathetic. There are apikorsim and atheists and true believers (oh, my). And how do we identify with one movement when our personal beliefs and observances are so individual, even within the community we’ve chosen to affiliate with?

Thank you Beliefnet, for providing the solution. A comprehensive (22-question) quiz designed to evaluate what kind of Jews we really are using the great objective equalizer (multiple choice) and identifying types of Jews as types of Jewish foods. (Warning: The Sephardim among us will likely rail at the clear Ashkenazi bias in the selection of the foods designated as categories.)

If anyone else is on the low end of the Lukshin Kugel index, you are cordially invited to be part of my new movement. Temple of the Ephemeral Jews, it’s not, but what is?

So sharpen your virtual #2 pencils and take the quiz. Eyes on your own papers, please.

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Esther Kustanowitz

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  • This quiz is truly awful.

    Q2. What Jewish organization do you associate with most closely?
    1. Synagogue
    2. Hebrew school or communal organization
    3. The gym at the Jewish Community Center
    4. I don’t really associate myself with any Jewish organization

    These are the only three types of Jewish organizations? Clearly this was written for Jews in the ’50s, or in the suburbs.

    Q21. What do you think Judaism requires Jews to believe?

    1. That there is one God, God gave the Torah at Sinai, and a messiah or messianic age will appear in the future
    2. That we believe what our individual hearts and minds tell us
    3. I consider Judaism a family, nation, or ethnicity, with no required beliefs at all
    4. I have no opinion on the topic

    Let’s caricature every movement! Either we believe in Torah miSinai, or we have (three different versions of) no beliefs at all!

    But the worst is the way the categories are set up at the end. Despite the fact that Jewish identity is multidimensional (and thus something like Political Compass would have been more apt), each question gives a single “score”, and the order of the choices makes it unsubtle about which choices the author considers “more Jewish”. At the end, everyone is lined up on a single one-dimensional spectrum from “more Jewish” to “less Jewish”. The suggested articles and books reinforce every stereotype.

    And how can anyone not be insulted by “Blueberry Bagel”? It doesn’t represent Jews picking up Western influences; it represents Western non-Jews picking up Jewish influences.

  • “To further the debate–and add a bit of levity to it–Beliefnet offers a Jewish identity quiz that will label you in an entirely new way: Jewish foods. Sure, its silly, but we hope this quiz will still be fun and thought provoking.”

    It seems that the level of “jokey” that this quiz is going for is “cutesy and clever”, not “an absurdist critique of the notion of categorizations”. Thus, I have every reason to believe that when this quiz invokes cognitive frames (see this post and read Lakoff), it is doing so sincerely and unreflectively, not satirically.

  • Oh no! It came out that a “croutons Jew” and I was haughty enough to think that I am a “schmaltz herring Jew” or at least “kishke-in-da-chulent Jew”.

  • I wish for all of us to get along well with each other.:)

    I don’t think though that people should label themself, ie. reform, conservative, orthodox, etc. Mainly, we are Jews who are on diff. levels of belief and practice. And I believe that No matter what level we are on, we should all strive to grow.
    here’s a nice site

  • Suzan – what you’re saying is that we’re all Orthodox, but we just don’t all realize it yet.

    But that’s not actually true.

  • Tzimmes, is a sweet type of kugel, ya know one of those food sfardim dread and despise, at least my sfardi friends do, hehe

  • It’s not a kugel; it is more of a stew.

    It would simply be better if all were more accepting of the other, to try to see the good in each persons beliefs and actions. Dan LKaf Zechut is the Hebrew term. And yes, the Mussar movement started by Orthodox Rav Yisrael Salanter was aimed at all Jews.

  • You know, I also got Tzimmes, and despite being of Romanian extraction, I also had no idea what Tzimmes is. Although I did just make some Shakshuka a la Brakha.

  • I wouldn’t use the word stew to cover tzimmes. It’s usually carrots, sweet potatoes and prunes, in a honeyed sauce, usually used as a side dish. At least that’s the way we did it chez ma famille. But people use it colloquially, as in: “I didn’t mean to make a big tzimmes over it…” which in turn comes from the Myddle Englysh…oh, never mind.

    And Michael, you can stop the shakshuka brown-nosing. CK already likes you.

  • Brown-nosing? Why would I brown-nose to a big dummyhead like ck? I’m just really obsessed with shakshuka. Seriously. And tzimmes sounds kinda…icky.

  • wow….i guess I didn’t know that so many Jews gave so much consideration to “what kind of jew” a JEW is…Seems a little “christian” to me…I dunno, living in Iowa, I hear a lot of talk about what kind of Christian such and such is and what not. Hell I’m happy even to meet a Jew, let alone concern myself with “what kind of Jew” they are.

  • I thought tzimmis was steamed sweet carrots. Gross steamed sweet carrots.

    I’m Lukshin Kugel Jew Boy. They call me LKJB for short. This is so going in my livejournal. I can’t wait to tell my friend about this. omgwtfbbq

  • Look: whatever tzimmes is, we can all agree that if it is indeed a mixture of stewed vegetables of any kind that have been made sweet, it is disgusting. So with that in mind, and knowing full well that it will cause Jewish Mother to collapse into paroxysms of accusations that I am destroying the Jewish woman and the Jewish home because of course tzimmes is the key to a million Jewish babies, I propose the creation of a new subsidiary organization: GROSS (Get Rid Of Slimy tzimmeS). I open this group to all kinds of Jews, as long as they are united in their staunch opposal to sweet mushy vegetable matter occupying their dinner plates like so many Zionist entities.

    !מוות לצימס

  • I’m sorry that you don’t understand my fiery rebellious passion when it comes to the culinary wars. One day GROSS and I will be vindicated!

  • oh my god, tzimmis is like the only edible food at some meishurim take out places. who doesn’t like carrots, seewt potatoes and honey? when it warm? with a little cilantro?

  • . . .wouldn’t you love to be a kugel, too?

    i thought this quiz was funny – regardless of my “50” score, i can tell you that one central characteristic of my Jewishness right now (in a place where there aren’t many Jews) is that i never meet Jews who think or practice like i do.

    that’s OK, tho’

    your site is groovy – Shalom!

    Am Yisrael Chai