The hottest Jewish trends for 2023 (and the 2022 fads we won’t miss)
2022 is drawing to a close, which means we’re wondering — what happened this year? Or, more importantly, what trended this year?
Entering the bleak midwinter as we are, it’s difficult to remember those happy days before Beanie Feldstein left Funny Girl and Kanye went “death con 3.” But we looked back on a year’s worth of cultural crazes so we can tell you what fads went out of style — in other words, got tired — and which trends are going to dominate 2023. (That is, they’re wired.)
Gentile behavior on Passover, a Guide— lucifer (@emmazapdos) April 19, 2019
Tired: attending Christian Passover Seders
Wired: attending Jewish Passover Seders
Inspired: buying your Jewish friend’s non-Kosher for Passover food for $1 so that they don’t have to throw it away and selling it back after Passover is over
We created this comprehensive list of what’s in and what’s out based solely on vibes and our own little opinions. Grab your pickle jar, enjoy your deli raves and turn on a Nora Ephron flick. You never know what 2023 will bring.
It’s now a truth universally acknowledged that hot girls have gut issues, and that their unspeakable symptoms can only be staved off by ingesting large quantities of fermented substances. But in our humble opinion, kombucha, the official drink of professional hipsters, is officially passé. Care for your gut the way our ancestors did — by piling pickled vegetables on literally every meal. Purchasing pickles at the supermarket is acceptable, but the real ones make their own.
You might think pastrami on rye, smothered in Russian dressing, seems like a symbol of a bygone era, your zayde’s favorite order that’s passé in a gluten-free vegan era. But you’d be wrong — the deli is so hot right now. Not just the food, also the aesthetic. Fashion designer Batsheva Hay had her New York Fashion Week show at Ben’s Kosher Deli, you can rep Zabar’s with a designer sweater from Coach, and Katz’s even hosted a rave headlined by the hugely famous DJ Diplo. I hear a bowl of 4 a.m. matzo ball soup is a great hangover preventative.
This new season of My Unorthodox Life featured an overabundance of plastic surgery and far too few details on the most interesting plotline: Julia Haart’s messy divorce from her billionaire husband. Love is Blind gave us a kvell-able Jewish contestant and … a surprisingly genuine love story? Take your pick.
When Ukraine went to war with Russia, people got outraged, but also, well … thirsty. Now we’re nearing a year of war and it’s clear that turning Volodymyr Zelenskyy into a sex symbol is not helping Ukrainians. Instead of drooling over the president in his wartime camo, consider putting actual resources behind your obsession and send some dollars to efforts to aid Ukraine.
Quiet quitting — in which the worker does not actually quit, but does stop trying to work very hard — dominated headlines in 2022. It was an epidemic that threatened our economy, our society, the very foundations of American capitalism! It was also not a real trend. For 2023, workers are taking back the narrative with a pastime long beloved by our Yiddish socialist forebears: union organizing. This month alone has seen strikes at The New York Times, HarperCollins, The New School and across UC schools. Alabama coal miners have been striking for over a year. Workers’ rights: so hot right now.
The Jewish Museum’s targeted advertisements have filled us with a hitherto unknown desire to own folk art-inspired terracotta menorahs. Alas, these bespoke treasures cost the GDP of a small country. Seeking to spend a stupid but not life-derailing amount of money on Hanukkah accoutrements, we turned instead to these taper candles from The Six Bells, Wing founder Audrey Gelman’s home goods store. Clocking in at $30 for a single taper, this candle will not fit in a standard menorah or help you celebrate Hanukkah in any way — which tracks perfectly with Gelman’s approach to Judaica at her “country store.” But as long as you only buy one or two they’re a more affordable, if less lasting, way to bring hand-painted charm to next year’s festival of lights.
Why did Jews get assigned gnomes as a Holiday mascot? We don’t think it was meant to be antisemitic, but it still feels, ya know, a bit antisemitic. Thankfully, there’s another Hanukkah animal coming in hot: the lion. Is it random? Absolutely. But Target is really leaning into the lion theme, and we’re here for it.
You’ve been under a rock if you’ve missed rapper Kanye West’s continued antisemitic outbursts over the past several months. But in his original tweet about going “death con 3” on Jews, West, who goes by Ye, opened by saying he was “a bit sleepy,” a phrase that he’s repeated in some of the subsequent antisemitic tweets. We get it! We, too, sometimes say mean things when we’re tired — although most of us don’t go so far as to praise Hitler. Maybe if West finally took a nap, we could all finally stop talking about him.
This year’s crop of Hallmark Hanukkah movies may be the best this burgeoning genre has yet to offer. But when it comes to chic winter attire, crisp days in a romanticized, rat-free New York City, and whirlwind romances between protagonists who are definitely going to get divorced in two years, no one does it better than Nora Ephron. With this year’s resurgence of 90s style, she’s never been more relevant. Meg Ryan, we’re coming for your exquisitely tailored leather coats!
For years, we’ve been complaining about our options for Hanukkah merchandise. Mainstays have included menorahs with the wrong number of branches, pillows with puns like “Oy to the World” and saccharine wall art about spreading light. We’re over it. Hanukkah is a holiday about religious war. So try some sweatshirts with slogans like “less assimilation, more celebration” and “revolt & rejoice.” They’re made by @hanukkahfails, an Instagram account that’s been tracking all of the worst merch — so she knows how to make the best.
Beanie Feldman’s hasty departure from this year’s Funny Girl revival, and the decision to cast Lea Michele in her place, spurred the kind of pitting-female-celebrities-against-each-other internet discourse that we hope (but do not expect) will fade from the earth in 2023. The good news is, the musical itself still slaps. You don’t even need to shell out for Broadway tickets. We recommend setting up at home with a bottle of wine, some knitting to get you through the boring parts (let’s be real, any non-sung moment is a lost cause) and the OG Fanny, Barbra Streisand.
Novelty items with misspelled Yiddish obscenities are out. Yiddish women writers are in: 2022 was a banner year for translations of this underrated demographic. This year saw translations of Ida Maze’s autobiographical bildungsroman Dineh; Chana Blankshteyn’s haunting stories of interwar Vilna in Fear; and Miriam Karpilove’s caustic coming-to-America tale, Judith. And that’s just to name a few. We can’t think of anything more wired than these new additions to a literary canon long dominated by men.
Banning books may be the most tired trend of all, in that it has happened before and historically worked out poorly. When a Tennessee school district banned the teaching of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, print sales of the novel rose 753%. Wired!
Buying a TikTok-inspired wardrobe to go with your Coachella tickets? Tired. Wearing Black Sabbath gear to folk dance the early morning away at the Yiddish Book Center’s annual music festival? Count us in.
Apps like JDate and The Lox Club cater to Jews looking for love. They also don’t feel very Jewish. Thankfully, at this stage of the pandemic, you aren’t limited to the apps anymore. So try meeting your beshert the old fashioned way: at Simchat Torah.
Chantal Akerman walked so James Gray and Steven Spielberg could, uh, make underwhelming prestige films about the Jewish experience? Honestly, this year’s highly touted Jewish releases did not impress. But Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Bruxelles was crowned the best movie of all time by the British Film Institute. Watch it next time you have a free afternoon — and a healthy outlook on the world that can withstand this gutting work of cinema.
Cottagecore — an internet trend of dressing like you’re in a fairytale and photographing yourself around your rustic abode — has been bafflingly big for years, and boomed during the pandemic. Why not go further, and relive the subsistence farming lifestyle of your ancestors? After all, babuskha-inspired headscarves and tinctures your great-grandmother once made are very in.
They tell us that clean eating and regular exercise will make us feel restored and rejuvenated, but have they tried singing an ancient blessing and eating an entire loaf of challah? Trust us, it works.