Not-So-Nice Jewish Boy


When Israeli producers came to America to audition Jewish men to star in “Nice Jewish Boy,” their upcoming Bachelor-type reality show, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. After all, who better than me — a commitment-phobic, ardently secular, anxious, heavily medicated, pale glass of short Jewish water — to represent the American way?

This could be a chance for me to make a real difference in Israeli-American relations. I began to fantasize about my very own harem of glistening Israeli chicks in sweaty army fatigues, and all that we could do to and for one another in the name of world diplomacy. I’d learn invaluable lessons that only these gorgeous Israelis could teach me: how to shoot an Uzi, how to chain smoke and how to have zero respect for someone’s personal space. I, on the other hand, would pass on such valuable American skills as: driving a block away to Starbucks to spend $3 on a cup of coffee, how to say the words “excuse me” and, most importantly, how to apply underarm deodorant.

So, after my initial inquiry and some e-mail exchanges with the producer, I received a phone call from the show’s production coordinator in Israel at 6 a.m. No. You heard that right. Six. In the morning.

So anyway, in my groggy, disoriented state, the production coordinator (who we’ll call “Galit”) gave me my flight information. Coming to, I finally asked Galit, “So, who’s picking me up from the airport, and where will I be staying?”

There was dead air on the other end of the line. Then Galit responded: “Emmmmm, you can take a taxi, no? And, emmm…. We cannot put you up. OK?”

The thought of being stranded in Queens at 1 a.m. had me suddenly wide awake. Galit sensed my panic, and said that she was going to check with the producers, and that she would call me back in a half hour (read: 6:30 a.m.). Before getting off the phone with me, however, she asked if I could call some people in New York and see if they wouldn’t mind putting me up. I told her that I’d call everyone I knew. She hung up. I went back to sleep.

A half hour later, the phone rang. It was Galit: “Did you find anyone to put you up?”

I deadpanned, “Nope. I called 20 of my closest New York friends. Everyone’s all booked up for the summer.”

This clearly went over her head as she pushed on: “Not to worry, because I am a magic worker! I got you a hotel to stay! I work magic, no?”

Now we were talking! Clearly, all that needed to have happened was a little negotiation on my part. It looked like my American capitalist negotiation skills had trumped her primitive shuk haggling.

Galit said cheerfully, “We’ll put you up for one night at the Howard Johnson. This is good, yes?”

Emmm, no! Any hotel that is more famous for its flapjacks than it is for its, well … hotel, I’m gonna have a problem with. I don’t care how good their breakfast is — 11 hours of flying for six hours in New York was a deal that I was not going to make. There was some more dead air on the other end of the line.

“Hello?” I asked.

And then, out of the blue, Galit said six words that absolutely floored me: “C’mon, what angle can we work here?”

Angle! What angle can we work here? I was appalled. How about the angle of human decency? Or, an angle that doesn’t involve maple syrup and butter? I told Galit that either they were going to fly me out, pick me up and put me up for two full days, in a non-pancake-themed hotel, or I wasn’t coming. Period.

Well, my good-old American tenacity worked, because she finally acquiesced. Well sort of. Because when I landed at JFK on Friday night, there, of course, was no one to pick me up. The next morning, after showering, shaving, gelling, and sucking in my gut, I was off to meet the producers of the show.

The questions were probing and personal, and mainly focused on my past relationships. Here is a quick sample:

Israeli Producers: What sorts of things do you do to relax?

Me: I like to drink a little.

Israeli Producers: (Blank Looks)

Me: Um, well, okay, more than a little. Oh yeah, and I frequently like to get in touch with myself….

Israeli Producers: (More blank looks. And then….) What’s the most expensive gift you’ve bought one of your past girlfriends?

Me: You’re supposed to buy them gifts?

Israeli Producers: (Additional blank looks.)

Me: Does dinner count as a ‘gift?’

Israeli Producers: (See above.)

Me: (Slightly uncomfortable, and then taking a bold swing.) I gave them the gift of … the joy of being in my company?

That’s about where they wrapped up my audition. The next day, I flew home to L.A. with a promise from the producers that they’d let me know the following week if I made the cut. A month has passed since, and I still haven’t received any 6 a.m. telephone calls. Not that I’m waiting by the phone for an answer or anything. I mean, who’d want to be on some stupid reality TV show where 20 women fight over you? Not me, that’s for sure!

God, I’m pathetic.

Anyway, a week ago, I read in the Jerusalem Post that a “nice Jewish boy” had finally been chosen. Apparently, his name is Ari Goldman, and he lives in Manhattan where he runs a highly successful vintage comics enterprise. In other words, I lost out to a guy who collects comic books for a living. I always knew I’d rue the day my mom threw out my Green Lantern collection. I hope you’re happy, mom. The Green Lantern could have gotten me some serious tuchus.

Jonathan Kesselman created and directed “The Hebrew Hammer.”

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Like a Jew in a Bagel Store


I’m no longer a virgin. To Israel, that is. This single babe just returned from her maiden voyage to the land of milk and honey. And all I can say is — there were a lot of honeys. Jewish men everywhere.

In the restaurants, on the streets, in the shops — I didn’t know where to flirt first. Forget a kid in a candy store, I was like a Jew in a bagel store. I’ll take a dozen — hot ones if you have them. Israel is a single Jewish girl’s fantasy.

Take one of my Tel Aviv adventures. I was downing a Maccabee Beer in a disco on the pier when it hit me: Every guy in this club is Jewish — they’re all fair game. The cute guy in the corner, the tall guy drinking Goldstar, the fine guy who asked me to dance and the young guy who could not ask at all. Every man here has a "for sale" sign. This must be what the rest of the world feels like — everyone they meet is a potential mate.

In Los Angeles, it’s all about the Jew-crew prescreen for me. When I get to a bar, first thing I do is a lap. OK, first thing I do is a shot. Second thing I do is a lap. Once I locate the hot guys, the real fun begins. Will the real Slim Schwartzie please stand up? OK, it’s not that bad. But without a secret password or members-only handshake, I have to do some fast detective work to uncover the boys’ roots. I open with subtle overtures like, "Where’d you go to school? When’d you graduate? When was your bar mitzvah?" Sometimes I slip in the, "Hi, my name’s Carin. What’s your last name?" or the ever-popular "Can I buy you a drink? Are you circumcised?" We even turn it into a drinking game, "Name That Jew." Every time you correctly ID a Jew in a bar, you pound a beer.

Some guys pass the Tribe test, but in a room of 100 random American men, statistics say I’ve narrowed my options to 2.2 of them. One of them is probably hitting on the 21-year-old blonde who’s up for a WB pilot and the other is usually a band geek without an instrument.

By dating only Jews, I really limit my pool. We’re not talking Olympic-size pool or even kiddie pool. Picture the small plastic pool you can purchase at Toys R Us. No — picture a bathtub. That’s my sample size.

So why put myself through that? Why restrict myself to .02 percent of the single men in the world? I haven’t always. In college I dated and fell love with an incredible Catholic guy. I told myself we’d work the religion thing out, we could compromise. But eventually I realized I didn’t want to compromise. Not about this. Judaism is an essential part of my life, it’s Carin to the core. I’d be lying to myself if I said it wasn’t. So now I only pick up Jews. Cuz’ you never know when that flirt’s gonna lead to a date, and that date to a relationship and that relationship to a puffy white dress and a drunken wedding hora. So for me it’s Heeb or nothing.

It’d be easier if I went outside the Jewish circle. I’d meet more men, I’d go on more dates, I could be married by now. But not under a chuppah. And there’s the snag. Dancing in that Tel Aviv club, I realized what it feels like to have my choice of any man at the bar. It feels amazing — I love the multiple choice. But more importantly, I realized what it feels to be in a bar packed with fellow Jews. The connection I felt to the people in the room — these were my peeps. And my future husband, he’s gonna be one of us. While dating only Jews limits my choices, it’s the only choice for me. Which is why I loved Israel’s all-you-can-date buffet. I was dancing on a platform in that Tel Aviv club when my friend, Amy, introduced us.

"Carin, this is Eli."

I owe Amy big time. In the movie of his life, Eli was hot enough to play himself. He had a cocky smile and a tight little Israeli boot-camp bootie. I didn’t have to hunt for the hecksher before we started kissing. In Israel, you know the guys are kosher.

If only it were that easy in Los Angeles. I’m back in Hollywood and trawling the scene for Jewish men. It’s frustrating, looking for mensch in a haystack. I miss my Israeli all-access pass. When a date goes poorly in Los Angeles, we say there’s always more fish in the sea. But in Israel, there’s a whole sea of Jewish fish waiting to be caught.


Carin Davis is a freelance writer and
can be reached at sports@jewishjournal.com.

The Sabra Seduction


It was an offer I could refuse — but only for a short time. Yaniv was his name, and his sweet entreaty epitomized the dating habits of the macho, cocky Israeli man (can you say caveman with a cell phone and Chanel sunglasses?). He cunningly wanted to prepare hot cocoa for me in his apartment.

Actually, in his room.

More accurately, on his bed.

I declined, but was coaxed into this little setup before the week was out.

As an Israeli whose life was split between Israel and America in the familial and environmental sense, I have the pleasure of viewing both worlds as a foreigner and native. When it comes to Israeli men vs. American men, I am a big advocate of my Mediterranean-blooded counterparts.

Israeli men seem to have confidence imbedded in their DNA. Maybe it’s from the army, or perhaps it’s the carpe diem syndrome. Maybe it’s outright self-destructiveness. Either way, Israeli guys know how to approach a woman and make her feel like God has descended upon her.

I attribute this approach to an unfair advantage Israeli men have over their American counterparts when it comes to courting Israeli women (can you really call hot cocoa on his bed courting?). Let’s face it, when people have the same life experiences — dealing with an aggressive public, terror attacks, army service, chocolate milk in a plastic bag — they can more easily relate to one another. So Israeli men already have a pretty good idea of the background of their potential prey.

This knowledge inevitably detracts from the taunting image of the unapproachable, mysterious woman on a pedestal, at least somewhat, and results in a boosted sense of chutzpah.

But Israeli men’s confidence is a quality that proves enticing to at least some of those being pursued. If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you — if by nothing more than mere trickery. Every woman loves a man who knows what he’s doing, and Israeli men, even if they don’t know what they’re doing, will never admit it. They approach a woman like they approach the toilet — with conviction and purpose. Women, even new age feminists, can appreciate this quality.

Yet the Israeli brand of macho can sometimes go overboard. Sometimes, and quite often, the Israeli man is considered too cocky and overconfident, an incorrigible flirt and womanizer. Israeli men offer deals — “You come here and I will pamper you with chocolate.” It seems archaic, even primitive, but that kind of confidence can really melt away at a woman’s reserves.

Confidence, unfortunately, is not a word I would use to describe American men. Their approach is subtle; they are over-intellectualized and fearful of trespassing on the female sense of liberty. They want to make a woman feel as an equal. If I wanted to feel like an equal, I would date women.

The beauty in a female-male relationship is that your femininity or masculinity is enhanced by the mere presence of something so different than yourself. American men seem to have forgotten this, and with it their manliness has atrophied.

I like American men because they are the product of an over-analytical society, and sometimes this comes in handy. They are willing to change their opinions. Nothing is ever black and white. They don’t eat meat. They are sensitive to racial equality. They cook and clean.

Yaniv is a carnivorous lug who can’t get enough of his Iraqi mother’s cooking. To him, everything is simpler than how I make it seem. He turns my poetry into prose.

Me: “I feel like I am floating off the air with no one to help me come down.”

Him: “You’re just lonely.”

Me: “I had this image of pierced holes in my back.”

Him: “You were just scared.”

When he brings down my elaborate metaphors to three-word sentences, everything seems clarified. He is almost always right.

To American women, Israeli men are gruff, too adventurous and too set in their ways to accommodate those who don’t know how to not take them seriously. Israeli women, on the other hand, know how to manage.

Israeli women are a breed of their own, too. Strongminded, highly opinionated, no BS and, for the most part, pragmatic. I have an Israeli friend who is dating an American man and her chief complaint is, almost always, “He’s not hard enough.” I translate that on several levels — emotionally, intellectually and, well….

Ultimately, it’s more a matter of personality than anything else. A relationship with either an American or an Israeli both require the common denominator that unites us all and transcends any national barriers — love.

As for Yaniv, the big lug has become quite a sweet guy, no doubt because of my good influences and perhaps his “Americanization.” And by the way, he’s graduated from hot cocoa to latte.