May 21, 2024
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May 21, 2024
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How to Spot Another Frum Family on Vacation

One of the most fun activities, as a frum person on vacation, is to look around for other frum families on vacation. And of course to introduce yourself, even though if you ran into them at your local supermarket, you would never say a word to them.

I don’t know that people from out of town get the same thrill running into a frum person when they vacation in New York.

So here’s a list of a bunch of ways that you can tell if the family you’ve been frowning at for the past 10 minutes is actually frum. Note that not all frum people conform to all of these points (okay, no one conforms to all of these points), but if you see someone doing any of these, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s frum. And then you can go over to him and say, “Mincha?” And if he says, “What?” You can correct yourself by stammering, “Oh, sorry. You look a lot like my friend Mincha.”

Note that these are all things people do on regular vacations, and that I’m not even talking about what happens at the bungalow colony. Do goyim even go to bungalow colonies? —

If someone is on vacation this week, they’re Jewish. Even if they don’t know they’re Jewish. You know.

The entire family is wearing baseball caps. There is no non-Jewish family in the world where every last person wears a baseball cap. Nobody with a beard that big is so into the Yankees that his whole family has to wear caps. Of random team names. And not even all are team names—some are for frozen foods.

All the kids are matching. I don’t know why. I guess it’s so the parents can find them. To everyone else, your kids all look alike. But to you, who can tell the difference, they need matching clothing.

They have enough luggage for a family making aliyah. “Let’s see… I’ve been wearing the same undershirt all week, but for 5 days of vacation, I’ll probably need… 10, just in case. What if I go on a water ride? I’ll probably change it right there at the park!”

Their trunk needs to be slammed hard to make sure nothing falls out.

They have 10 people in a seven-seater.

They’re cooking on a small portable grill right next to the huge public-use grill. Truth is, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this. There’s years of crud on those things. Who cleans a grill? Especially one in middle of a park.

They seem to be staring at a wall for five minutes in the middle of the day and talking to themselves. Or they’re holding their cell phone to their ear pretending to be on the phone with God. All these people will be useless for Mincha, though, as they’re going to say they already davened. I keep getting drafted right after I do this.

They’re the ones who go to the beach at 5:30 in the morning before the crowds get up. Because who wakes up at the crack of dawn to relax on the beach?

They’re double parked.

T-shirts above the waist, business attire below the waist.

They’re lending people baby wipes, even though they don’t seem to have a baby.

They’re the ones bringing suitcases full of meat on the plane. And, I suppose, davening that the suitcases don’t get lost for weeks and weeks. “We finally found your suitcase. Do you want it?” “No. Just blow it up.”

They’re the ones trying to feed the animals at the zoo when the sign says, “No feeding.” Jews can’t not feed anything. The zoos post this because they don’t want the animals having digestive problems, but, “No, it’s okay. I’m just feeding them matzah.”

They’re the ones in the middle of the petting zoo, chanting, “Ul’chal B’nei Yisroel lo yecheratz kelev lashono.”

When they open the door to the minivan, a knee-deep layer of wrappers falls out.

They brought their Shabbos leftovers to the park for Sunday lunch.

They’re the ones stopping the car and washing their hands with perfectly good water bottles. Or seltzer.

They’re driving a 12-passenger van with a bumper sticker that says, “This car climbed Mount Washington.”

They want to know where Chabad is. Chabad is officially meant to be a place out in middle of nowhere where people can find Yiddishkeit. “Oh, Yiddishkeit is here. In the middle of nowhere. I was looking in New York.” But it seems that most of their resources go into helping frum people on vacation stand around for two hours waiting for Shacharis to start. “I don’t know, we had a minyan here yesterday. Maybe those other guys went home.”

They’re wearing white shirts to go mountain climbing.

Their kids are going up the down escalator for fun. I don’t know why this is a Jewish thing, but I’ve never seen a non-Jewish kid doing it.

They’re the ones going down roller coasters with one hand on their head. And then ducking, because the girders that can clear people with their hands straight up in the air are going to somehow take their heads off.

They’re the ones on the bumper cars with their kid, having more fun than the kid and taking up 90% of the seat.

You run into them at a factory that shows how they make a particular type of food professionally and then gives out free samples at the end.

You know what? Maybe this whole list means nothing. For all I know, even the goyim do all of these things. I just think it’s the Jews. Though if it’s not, I’ve had some very questionable Minchas.

What did they think we were doing?

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has six books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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