The Shmooze

Jewish Geisha Takes on Manhattan Bar

By Michael Kaminer

Geishas, the Japan Guide web site explains, “are professional entertainers who attend guests during meals, banquets and other occasions…. Their role is to make guests feel at ease with conversation, drinking games and dance performances.” And, according to a front-page story in this week’s Village Voice, they can also be Jewish.

In her first-person account of a month-long stint as a hostess at a Midtown bar called Kaoru, writer Victoria Bekiempis muses that her Hebraic features proved a unique selling proposition in an establishment run by, and catering to, Asians. “In the first two weeks, the customers were curious, but kind of cold,” she writes. A colleague “had said that they’d be intrigued by the fact that I’m Jewish, and apparently look it. Sometimes they’d straight-up ask: ‘You’re Jewish, aren’t you?’ and would add that they ‘could just tell.’”

Read more



Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.