Monday, January 5, 2015

1993 Yeshiva University Promo Video Is Glorious And So Deliciously 80s/90s (And Jewish)

It has been a long while since I've last blogged here, but for mostly good reasons. I've been traveling for the gymnastics book. And then writing said book. But I had to briefly emerge from blogging hiatus to post this just surfaced video, the promo video that Yeshiva University produced in 1993 to recruit new students.

The video is A-MAZING. Nothing I can write will adequately prepare you for the fashion and the music and nasally narration. Nonetheless, I jotted some minute to minute reactions to the best college promo ever made:

:35: What's with this music? It sounds like a mashup of every Holocaust movie soundtrack ever and early Israeli folk tunes?

:46: "Yeshiva is the only place where you get a cross section of every single type of Jewish person around." Every kind? Even the kind that have never heard the word "yeshiva," which is probably the majority of them in the United States? Oh--by "every single type of Jewish person" you mean the very Orthodox to the moderately Orthodox. If American Jewry is a Baskin Robbins, that's not thirty one flavors. That's like two flavors.

1:16: I know it's supposed to take place in the 90s so why does the fashion look so 80s? It reminds of that line from How I Met Your Mother. When the gang first see the "Robin Sparkles" video from Robin's time as a Canadian Tiffany-like pop star, they wondered why the fashion was so 80s even though Robin Sparkles was a hit in the 90s. To which she replied, "The 80s didn't come to Canada til like 93." I guess the same could be said of the Yeshivish community.

1:27: To the girl who could've gone to an Ivy League school and studied Judaic studies there but "didn't feel I would be getting the range of types of personalities of views, of people who had been studying their entire life": so you thought you would encounter more diverse views by attending a school that is not only made strictly of your coreligionists, but of people who practice almost identically to you and have been studying these texts for their entire lives. I guess that what passes as "diversity" at YU.

1:42: "It was important to me that I got it from a traditional perspective." So you weren't looking for a range--you wanted just one perspective, the traditional one. Finally, the truth comes out! Doesn't that feel better?

1:46: Flashing back to when I thought it was so cool to wear my hair in a half pony and then weave it into a braid. I'm glad that not many pictures from my childhood have survived.

1:55: That accent is so Brooklyn before Brooklyn meant something about hipsters and artisans.

1:55: After acknowledging that maybe Jews on secular campuses are able to forge community and identity, she then claims that she doesn't think that those poor, unfortunate souls can develop the same relationships "with professors and rabbis as we are able to obtain here." I'm kind of with her on the latter--I didn't develop deep bonds with rabbis at Penn because there weren't a lot of them to befriend. Point: YU

2:02: Music change to something with a little more "oy yoyoy" cause we have arrived at...THE BEIS MIDRASH! Keep your shirts on ladies because things are about to get holy. And sexy. Nothing is hotter than a guy rocking back and forth in a chair like he's got a nervous twitch.

2:05: "It is rare to find a beis midrash where a guy is sitting in one corner with a jeans and a t-shirt and a guy is sitting in the next corner with a black hat." Ordinarily, these guys are enemies. Like the Bloods and the Crips except instead of red and blue they've got denim and wool. But YU unites people who more or less observe Judaism in the same way but make different sartorial choices.

2:37: Does one eat "night cheese" at "night seder"?

3:45: "Certain secular courses are taught by professors who are committed to Torah." I'm guessing that in literature classes taught by those professors, the "homoerotic subtext" topic is raised less frequently. There goes the majority of English papers I wrote in college.

"One of the advantages of taking their classes is that they're able to bring Torah into those seculars courses to make it a bit more interesting." Yes, Torah naturally makes everything more interesting. In fact, Torah is the Hebrew word for "interesting."

4:09: Lady scientists!

4:14: "Now that they Sy Syms School of Business one can further his..." This was being narrated by a woman with female students onscreen and yet she chooses the male possessive. That's Orthodox Judaism for you in a nutshell.

4:43: Art class! Yet our student-narrator is talking about law school and all of the hours of classes she takes--7-8 classes a semester vs. 4-5 you would take at the heathen schools.

5:44: A Talmudic quandary: "Both are in need of respirator. There's one ventilator, one respirator available when they enter the emergency room. Who gets the ventilator?" THAT'S HEALTHCARE RATIONING YOU FASCIST, FREEDOM HATING COMMIE!

6:12: YU doesn't want to produce students who "can do really well in Gemara but they can't pick up a chumash," presumably cause the name of God burns their flesh because they're vampires. But in all seriousness, it is a widely known fact that in the yeshivish world, Talmudic education is emphasized amongst the men and the women learn more "Tanach," which is the Old Testament, Prophets, and the Other Writings. Talmud is manly like hunting and acquiring your wife as per your ketubah. Cooking, child rearing, and learning biblical stories is lady stuff. Like tampons.

6:19: As the student-narrator talks about "well-rounded students" the camera pans in a circular motion. I see what you did there.

6:31: A wrestling match. Otherwise known YU's sex education course.

6:38: A girl playing volleyball. Of course, she's only shown from the waist up so we can't see her legs (presumably in pants!) Still, we got a glimpse of sexy elbow--did you see that flaky, dry skin--action so it's enough for me and my weird elbow fetish.

6:39: Jewish men in speedos. When is their "Nice Jewish Boys Calendar" coming out?

7:55: NYC, the mecca of kosher food. So many different places to gain the Freshman 15 while also observing the esoteric laws of kashrut.

8:12: Cue the shuttle van, loaded up with boys from YU's Washington Heights campus arriving at Brookdale, the girls' dorm in midtown. Sexy time are ahead.

8:18: Or just a guy and a girl standing an arm's distance apart outside Brookdale Hall since she is not allowed to take him upstairs. I guess she'll have to give him a hand job under the table at one of those many kosher date spots nearby.

8:21: Another couple respecting each other's personal space while "Midnight Hour" plays. It's not midnight. It's the middle of the afternoon.

8:33: The risque part is over. We're back to separate sexes. The boys are in their study cubbies. And in their hot tub.


8:48: Dad jeans, walking.


(UPDATE: She claims it is not her.)

9:34: Why is this dude on a scale? Did the camera man accidentally stumble into a Weight Watchers meeting? Or is he trying to slim down for shidduch dating season so he can find a good match? Please, can someone explain this to me? And why did they have a much shorter, skinnier guy get on after and smile creepily into the camera?

10:04: I am not buying that basketball slam dunk. It must be a Zionist conspiracy, especially since an Israeli flag is in the frame.

10:25: Time for some bondage wear, I mean, phylacteries. I mean tefillin, which is just as an incomprehensible as phylacteries.

10:35: "You know the people around you have the same values you do, the same priorities. Whether or not they're exactly on the same wavelength religiously, you have a lot you can identify with." There's that big range they were rhapsodizing about earlier--same value, same priorities, just very small differences in observance and dress. It's a big tent. Like the Republican party.

10:52: Though we may have different politics, these women are my kindred hair spirits. Wear it big, wear it proud ladies.

After watching this video, I wonder if I should've listened to my principal and my high school teachers who encouraged me to apply to Stern. I clearly missed out diversity of people, thought, and frizz.


jenn said...

I think we should be friends....

Dvora Meyers said...

Aw, thanks Jenn.

jesse COGAN said...

I produced and directed this video.

jenn said...

you forgot 4:16 the most obvious nose job ever done!

Amy Love said...

Dvora. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful laughs.

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