Guest post by Simcha Levenberg
Six reasons why *Frum people aren’t friendly (unless they know you)
*(A frum person is an Orthodox Jewish person who keeps cases of seltzer on their porch or in their basement.)
Frum people are great; they are kind, generous, and friendly- if they know you. But if you randomly encounter an unknown frum person don’t expect smiles and high fives. Why aren’t frum people friendly to other Jewish People?
1. Yeshiva – The yeshiva day is packed. There is just so much Torah to learn that little time remains for talking about derech eretz, ahavas yisroel, or half-way decent manners. When these subjects are discussed it is only in the abstract: an analytical examination of the halachic obligations regarding one’s fellow. Either that or everybody was absent the day they talked about saying hello and making eye contact while conversing.
2. Frum people already have too many people in their lives – If you grew up Frum, you have a big extended family, you probably already have a lot of friends (old friends from camp, shul buddies, the people you stalk on Facebook), and you definitely don’t have the emotional space for a new person in your life. Opening oneself up to a new relationship by saying hello, waving, or smiling at another frum person is too taxing on your over-burdened social dance card. If you say hello, you’ll probably become friends, and then you’ll have to go their Simchas too, and that won’t do.
3. Frum people see other frum people constantly – Frum people live near one another. It makes sense; nobody wants to live more than a mile away from Shul. It’s quite possible that you grew up surrounded by other frummies your entire life. It’s no biggie to see another religious Jew. He’s just another reproduced version of what you’ve seen your whole life. Secular Jews, or even religious Jews who did not grow up cloistered in Flatbush are excited about seeing other Jews, but not you. You’ve seen too much already.
4. It’s a Brooklyn Thing – Not all people from Brooklyn are frum and not all frum people are from Brooklyn. But, they pretend to be. The tough love, street hardened, Coney Island Avenue approach to life doesn’t translate into friendly social interactions.
5. They think they are friendly – Friendly is a relative term. Hence, dirty looks, scowling faces, rude questions about your last name that is what’s called friendly in the frum world.
6. Overheating- Frum people wear a lot of layers. So many layers. Too many layers. They’re overheated and dehydrated, all the time. You can’t be friendly when you’re sweaty. It’s a fact.
Simcha Levenberg is a stand-up comedian searching for the meaning of life in Los Angeles.