Why Stars Hollow is the Best Jewish Community Ever

Why Stars Hollow is the Best Jewish Community Ever photo

I've recently been binge-watching Gilmore Girls in anticipation of this week's Netflix release of the new revival.

Is there a term more serious than binge-watching? I've been watching so much of the show that I'm almost to the point when anyone asks me what's new in my life, the only thing I can think of is, (spoiler alert) "Did you know that Rory's boyfriend Logan flew in from London to surprise her?" or "Did you hear that Chris and Lorelai went to Paris and were so jetlagged they slept through their fancy dinner reservation and then got married???"

So yes, lately, I've been a bit "Gilmored."

Re-watching the show at this point in my life reminds me of everything I have always loved about the show -- the charming, small-town backdrop, the lovable characters, and the whole neighborhood of secondary characters who, too, have their own unique stories. It also reminded me how "Jewish" this show actually is, and how much the town of Stars Hollow reminds me of a Jewish community.

Festivals bring people together.

"Movie Night" in the Square, the Easter Egg Hunt, the Revolutionary War Reenactment, the Snowman Building Contest -- you name it, this town celebrates it. One of my favorite things about Judaism is its rhythmic, cyclical nature -- if it's January, it must mean Tu B'Shevat is close by. The residents of Stars Hollow join together for all festivals, minor and major, just like our favorite Members of the Tribe.

Residents are there for each other in times of need.

Remember when Babette's cat died in Season 1, and the whole town came together for Cinnamon's funeral? Sounds kinda like a shiva, right? In the Jewish community, Jews turn out in droves for good occasions but especially for bad occasions, and we'd expect nothing less from the residents of Stars Hollow -- coming together even for the funeral of a cat … named Cinnamon.

Everyone is a Jewish mother.

In Season 2, Rory breaks her wrist in a car accident (Jess was there ... controversy??) and the whole town turns out as another Jewish mother for Rory. "Are you okay? Who did this to you?" Everybody treats Rory like their own daughter, which is what I imagine people do in small towns -- as they do in small communities. Ever broken your wrist while being Jewish? I did, and I know that all my Jewish teachers, family friends, synagogue members, and acquaintances made a fuss over me. Not to mention my actual Jewish mother!

Jewish references.

Have you ever noticed all of the explicit Jewish references in this show? They use the word "oy" constantly (has that word been adopted by the public or is it still in our domain?); Rory is praised for her role as Esther in the town's Purim play; Miss Patty sings "El Malei Rachamim" at the funeral of Stan, one of the town's oldest members; and Paris and Doyle learn Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) while in college at Yale.

Friday night dinners.

Possibly the biggest Jewish reference in the whole show, I can't help but hear "Shabbat dinner" whenever "Friday night dinners" are mentioned. Emily and Richard -- Rory's grandparents -- insist that Rory and Lorelai attend Friday night dinners at their home in Hartford as a way to make up for them paying for Rory's schooling ... but let's be honest, of course they just want an excuse for regularly scheduled family time. It's a brilliant plan -- Rory and Lorelai get dressed up and the family members join together for a delicious, fancy meal. Sounds a lot like a dinner I have each week. In Judaism, Shabbat dinners are a beautiful way for family and friends to stay in touch and celebrate this special part of each week together -- just like the Gilmores.

As of this writing, I have not yet finished re-watching Season 7 and have not yet seen the new Year in the Life season, but am very much looking forward to reuniting with Rory, Lorelai, Emily, Kirk, Miss Patty, Babette, Taylor, Luke, Lane, and the entire cast of crazies in Stars Hollow and beyond. And I'll be watching especially to see what these guys have to teach -- or learn from -- the Jewish community.

Lia Goldfarb photo 375
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