March 1, 2004 | Issue 9

New Jewish Classification Causing Quite a Stir

BORO PARK, BROOKLYN — [] As if the 21 classifications of Judaism weren't enough to commit to memory, a new grouping has been added to the mix and has contributed to further confusion.

Before the new classification was added, Jews worldwide were comfortable with the following categories: Conservative, Reform, Orthodox, Ultra Orthodox, Chasidish, Yeshivish, Litvish, Morthodox, Conservadox, Modern Orthodox, Black Hatter, Modern Yeshivish, Frum But With It, Young Israeli, Sabra, Yemenite, Srugi, Yeki, Chareidi, Upper West Side and Howard Stern.

Now "SUMO" has been thrown into the mix. "SUMO" stands for Super Ultra Mega Orthodox and its adherents have selected stringencies that boggle the mind of even those in the Ultra Orthodox crowd.

SUMOs have been known to wait six days between meat and milk, burn down their houses before Passover so chametz won't be found and throw themselves into the water during Tashlich.

Surprisingly, it is not these stringencies that are offending Jewish people in the other Classifications - it's memorizing the new list that's the problem.

"Listen," says Tova Bloom, an Orthodox Jew from Midwood, Brooklyn, "Nobody minds if these SUMOs don't use computers on Pesach because the cookies are chametzdik and nobody really cares that they walk around naked because they think everything might be shatnes, it's memorizing the entire Jewish classification list that's beginning to be a problem."

Ruthy Heimilich of Queens, New York sums it up the best: "What's the list again? Is it Conservadorm? Black Reformer? Litvadox? This is impossible to keep track of."

Despite the complaints, the list must be memorized as Michael Bloomberg won't allow third graders who can't memorize the new list to advance to fourth grade.


Pencil Martin Bodek is short, dark, handsome, runs marathons (finishes them too!), can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:47, is a big TED chasid, can whup your keister in Scrabble, loves halva, co-founded, and writes books from 5-9:


Commenting is disabled

search Search The Knish:

tool Article tools:

Print this article Print this article
Email this article Email this article
More by Martin Bodek More by Martin Bodek


Also In Issue 9

Random Stories


Did You Know?

Dyslexics have the minhag to graduate from rabbinical programs in Adar, as it says, "Mishenichnas adar, marbim b'smicha."

Weather Forecast

weather Ah Bissel Vindy!


Bush II Do you like satire? Do you like the Bible? Do you like politics? Do you like them all together at the same time? Now, for the first time ever, you can kill all three birds with one stone. Bush II, Book I is the King James Version of the first term of George W. Bush. Buy it and multitask like never before.