Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jewish Geography and Kevin Bacon

If you haven't yet heard about the famous game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where you link an actor to Kevin Bacon through no more than six connections, then, as in the words of Martin Short as the flamboyant wedding coordinator in the remake of "Father of the Bride, "Welcome to the 90's, Mr. Bank."  The game is a take on the idea of six degress of separation, but when you're Jewish, that number seems sometimes to dwindle down to three or even two.

You might know it better as Jewish Geography.

C'mon, we all know you've engaged in a fun game of it in your lifetime.  Maybe you shy away from it now.  But, even if you're from Bozeman, Montana, you most likely have played.  Whether you're from Boca, Skokie, or Roslyn, whether you went to camp anywhere near Honesdale or Lake Winnipesaukee (Adam Sandler is from nearby), you've done youth groups like  Young Judaea, USY, BBYO, B'nai Akiva, or NCSY, we know you've done it.  Whether you were in a Jewish fraternity or sorority anywhere, but particularly at Wisconsin (Madison only, puh-lease!), Michigan (Ann Arbor, of course), or Indiana (are there even any other campuses where out of state Jews would seek out?), you've played.  What about any affiliation with Penn, the SUNYs (particularly Binghamton or Albany), Maryland, Brandeis or B.U.?

Still no?

If you've been part of any of the teen tour circuit, including American Trails West, Rein, or West Coast Connection, you know the game.

Jewish geography is like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon amplified and on steroids, because you can be visiting your cousins in LA and run into a friend's aunt or uncle that you met a few years ago at his sister's bat mitzvah in the valley while strolling along Third Street Promenade.

The Whole Phamily is constantly learning about connections to friends of cousins of sisters of husbands' next door neighbors at their parents place in Bal Harbor.  The network can seem endless.

Wanna play?

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