Nice Jewish Boy Pageant to promote, engage with Jewish culture
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Pageants are a way to publicly present a certain mold and see who fits it best.
This mold can be one of beauty, of grace or of Miss United States. This weekend, it’s to discern the kind, the charming and the most well-connected in terms of Jewish geography. The Nice Jewish Boy Pageant aims to separate the menschen from the boys.
Hosted by The Goldie and Morris Mintz Center for Jewish Life, the second annual Nice Jewish Boy Pageant will take place Sunday. The competition will feature 16 different men competing for the golden yarmulke, a traditional Jewish cap worn both in public and during prayer. The contest is an interpretation of a traditional beauty pageant and follows similar criteria. The contestants will be evaluated based on three categories: businesswear, talent and interview. For the businesswear portion, contestants will strut their stuff in suits and hear letters written to them by their mothers saying why their son should win the pageant. The talent portion offers the opportunity for competitors to demonstrate their strongest ability, from singing to stand-up. This is followed by the interview portion, where each man will be asked a series of questions regarding Jewish life.
“It’s a fun way to explore and use some of the Jewish stereotypes of the Nice Jewish Boy,” Daniel Goldstein, freshman and Nice Jewish Boy Pageant contestant, said.
Tulane has a reputation for having a high population of Jewish students, leading some to nickname the school “Jewlane.” It is estimated that approximately 27 percent of the undergraduate student body identifies as Jewish, and Jewish life and community have an active voice on campus. This culture is promoted through both satirical events, such as the Nice Jewish Boy Pageant, and important cultural and religious events like Shabbat dinner on Fridays.
“I think [the Nice Jewish Boy Pageant] is a fun way for people to get together,” Goldstein said. “… We’ve got some universal values and ideas that I think go across the whole country, and it’s fun to bring everyone in together and just have everyone get involved …”
The competition celebrates the Jewish community but welcomes any and all Tulane community members to come and watch the pageant, regardless of religion.
The pageant, which both embraces and satirizes the stereotypes of being a Nice Jewish Boy, encourages friendly rivalry between its contestants while also strengthening the bonds within the Jewish community and inviting people to be more involved in it.