Shortly after graduating from college in 2000, I found myself living and interning in Austin, Texas. Someone apparently mentioned to the friendly policeman who worked by my office that I was a Member of the Tribe. He was thrilled; he’d never met a New York Jew — or any Jew — before. He lived 100 miles outside Austin, far beyond any eruv.
“Tell me,” the cop asked me eagerly, “is your life more like ‘Seinfeld’ or ‘The Nanny’?”
“Neither,” I replied.
“Well, it has to be like one of them,” he insisted. I assured him that really, neither show accurately represented my New York Jewish childhood.
I grew up surrounded by non-Jews who could pronounce schlep and spiel and use them properly in a sentence. So, it’s both amusing and astounding to remember that conversation. It was a reminder that we, American Jews, are indeed a minority group.
All of this is to say that if someone has never met a living, breathing Jew, television may be their introduction to Jewish religion, culture or people. I thought about this as I eagerly anticipated the return of USA’s “Suits”. On the surface, it’s just another legal show. The twist is that main character Mike Ross is a drifter-turned-law firm associate who never actually attended law school. And yes, Harvey Specter, the senior partner and legal legend he serves, knows it.