On the Tuna Bagel

On the Tuna Bagel

A waiter brings someone a tuna bagel which is a cool Hasidic dude

Frum Satire has done some “serious” expositions on the Tuna Bagel and Tuna Meidel personalities .It seems the stereotypes are big among the modern orthodox and Yeshivish communities. Chasidim don’t know of this concept, I think. The first time I heard of it was when someone asked me “so you’re like a tuna bagel?” and I said “SAY WHAT, you pickle?”

Here are some bits from Frum Satire:

“You know, the guys that rip into the parking lot at 90 MPH and park in the fire lane even though there aren’t any other cars parked in the lot, the same guys that you don’t think they are Jewish until they start ordering in Yiddish…..”

or the Tuna Meidel:

“A tuna Meidel is more moderate. She is more subtle. She is the chic that is cooler than her chassidic friends. She wants to fit into the community but yet she goes clubbing with her/ur hubby or bf looking like a hot chani. I often associate them, like your hot chani description, with eating sushi, “Yoysh! I looove Sushi!!”.

Go figure. The tuna bagel character is a funny caricature that reflects a much more serious attitude; the dislike and condescension the modern orthodox and yeshivish folks have for the ex-hasidim, including those who remain frum. It’s an attitude of superiority and class barriers that I find utterly despicable. They think they are better than ex-hasidim because they don’t have the accent, have cushy families that support them, aren’t often socially awkward and culturally mal-adjusted. You know what? We are all that, and in that, we are unique. We are self-made, and the human errors we make are testament to that. It’s a shame it’s the frum Jews, including the supposedly open-minded, who are least likely to appreciate that.

(Admin note: the picking of a winner for the July Caption Contest has been delayed due to unforeseen technical issues. Stay tuned; we will anounce it soon.)

  • Woodrow/Conservadox
    Posted at 23:04h, 23 July Reply

    So a tuna beigel/maidel is an ex-Chassid? And why the phrase- I’m not quite sure what sectarian allegiances have to do with tuna.

  • Shragi Getzel
    Posted at 23:09h, 23 July Reply

    I would just like to add; inasmuch as Frum Satire is picking on the ex-chasidim, in the litvish and MO pop culture the tuna beigel is any chasid who has more keys than his belt loops can handle.

  • Loren N Kaplan
    Posted at 23:25h, 23 July Reply

    “Can’t we all just get along?”

  • Loren N Kaplan
    Posted at 23:30h, 23 July Reply

    Woodrow: I think tuna has to do with the old joke about how one can pick out a goyishe guy in a deli. The goyishe guy orders tuna on a bagel. You get the drift. Just a guess.

  • Kevin
    Posted at 00:08h, 24 July Reply

    While I understand your fustration,the modox look at hassidim that still dress with the strimel etc…but go to movies….as weirder then hasidim, because the hasidim atleast stand for something whether you agree or not, but to dress like a clown without a religious commitment is plain ridiculous.
    X hasidim that change their lifestyle and act like the culture they are trying to be part of be it secular modern or yeshivish are not nicknamed tuna biegel.
    The guy described in frum satire, parking in fire lane is within tzitzis flying etc. and the girl who goes clubbing within bf but still trying to impress friends with her shpitzile is asking for what she is getting.

  • Groynem Ox
    Posted at 00:16h, 24 July Reply

    Right on Shpitz! You’re saying exactly what I’ve been saying, only better. Ironically these people are totally politically correct when it comes to any other ethnic minority.

  • Frimet Goldberger
    Posted at 09:22h, 24 July Reply

    Ha ha! I’ll take the tuna bagel with a side of soda and salad. Num, num.
    Kevin, you’re implying that secularism is a one-size-fits-all. Really? No weird fur hats or bekitches? Granted, in order to “fit in” with the MO or Yeshivish community, they would need to conform. But to be secular, one can wear horns too. It isn’t the appearance that renders one a tuna bagel, but rather how one speaks and conducts her/himself.
    I oppose all categorizations; unfortunately, the frum community thrives on it. Sad.

  • Chana Gittel Meyerowitzerbaum
    Posted at 10:14h, 24 July Reply

    Can not stand the term “Hot Chani”. irks me to no end.

  • Pini Friedman
    Posted at 10:51h, 24 July Reply

    But why “Tuna Beigel,” some might ask. Here’s what I think.
    The Tuna Beigel “appears

  • Ashmedai
    Posted at 22:54h, 24 July Reply

    In modern circles, and in every American Jew with a pulse,
    the “holy bagel” seems to be the way a cow is held holy in India.
    There’s a huge variety of bagels as well as articles in culinary
    periodicals with in depth discussions on the bagel making process- or art-
    as many would suggest. Bagels bagels bagels. Bagels and lox. With cream cheese…
    Toasted, scooped, garlic, pumpernickel, sourdough, bagel with raisins etc etc…
    And here we see a young fellow waltzing into a luncheonette flippantly asking for a “tunabeig’l”.
    Y’see people, most of us “tuna’s” grew (and still growing) up in a time and place where life is too cahotic to know of any “beig’ls” other then the mezoinos rolls that barely have strech marks- let alone real holes- the only variations that come to mind are the meager little sprinkle of poppy/sesame seeds that always reminds me of the word ‘afterthought’.
    So please, elite class, don’t be so hard on us, for we have yet to be enlightened as it pertains to bagel art and variety… Also try to understand us dear elitists , that from our mother tongue (yiddish) we sometimes make literal translation grammatical gaffes we certainly would not had we been “normal” natives…. try to treat us like you’d want your heavily accented great grandparents to be treated, huh?

  • der Galuch
    Posted at 00:20h, 25 July Reply

    Let’s stop pretending we don’t stereotype. Let’s stop pretending we don’t believe in categorizing. Let’s stop getting insulted and ashamed engage in these practices. Both arose as a survival mechanism along with a pre-frontal cortex which allows us further explorations of most of our basic programming.
    As with a lot of your commentary, Shpitz, you touch on an issue which is not so simple. I disagree with your sentiment that the caricature is born purely out of contempt. You might be interested to know that modox, litvish et al people relate strongly to Chasidim in that they both belong to the same tribe and were both raised in a small incestuous sub-culture of said tribe where they were indoctrinated with a sense of otherness in relation to the society in which they live. When humans see something they relate to but is not exactly them we allow ourselves to see the farce in it all. This is what comedy, satire, etc is based on. As with most jokes, there is some bit of truth but I’m not convinced there is a whole lot of malice to it most of the time.
    Secondly, Chasidim are often seen, even in communities that view their practices as a bit kooky and fanatically over the top, as the keepers of the ‘highest’ standard of orthodoxy. Other orthodoxes might put this inferiority complex on themselves but I’m sure the Chasidim themselves have a hand in the matter. This ridiculous inferiority complex might give rise to feelings of comeuppance when an ‘other orthodox’ witnesses the ‘bumbling’ of the tuna beigel. Childish? Yes. Malicious? Again, no.
    Now that we’re over possible alternatives (apologietics?) to what you termed “[despicable] condescension and class barriers” let’s get back to the pre-frontal cortex. When we want to learn more, we can. When we want to think deeper about something, we can. Nobody is taking away the accomplishments of anybody and it hardly matters. We go about our day constantly making categorizations about thousands of things we don’t even realize we’re categorizing. We’d die sooner if we didn’t. Did you notice your own myriad uses of categorization, stereotyping, and condescension in this very essay?
    All this aside, the takeaway for me is the fact that you expressed your hurt and anger. That’s enough to get me to question and dig deeper on at least one additional categorization that I may find myself making during the course of my day.

  • leapa
    Posted at 18:00h, 25 July Reply

    Shpitzl, a note:
    You have many times shown condescension to those on your right.
    Do you not appreciate that those on our left will do the same to us?
    Like the birds and the bees or the other forces of nature, he/she on the left will dismiss she/he on the right.
    And yet another note:
    Despite the struggle, there is a certain humorous aspect to the fact that the former or half chareidi rejects much of what he was taught or indroctinated with – yet still fully accepts everything he learned in school about the frum Jew being the center and point of the universe – but applies him or herself driving, waiting in line, and acting with consideration towards others.
    A testament to the power of our educational system?

  • Ashmedai
    Posted at 00:32h, 26 July Reply

    To quote Leepa-
    “Shpitzl, a note:
    You have many times shown condescension to those on your right.”
    Leepa, you are right- but ultimately wrong-
    Here’s why; While certainly true that rabbis are ridiculed (which you correctly point out).
    The deeper truth you are missing is that shpitz exhibits tremendous compassion for what
    she has come to see as terrible injustice perpetrated by a spineless cult-like leadership upon good people who live with a monkey see monkey do attitude for fear of stepping
    out of some arbitrary line imposed by child sex abuse defenders. Farshtanen?

  • Leapa
    Posted at 21:13h, 26 July Reply

    Farshtanen, Ashmedai!
    Ashmedai – With your permission, let’s discuss this meaningfully and by stages, if you are interested in that.
    (1) Do you feel there is a meaningful discussion about ‘monkey see monkey do’ without adding the fact that some rabbonim tried to cover for sex offenders (and please do not for a minute think that I have any empathy for these selfish and depraved creatures or their enablers).
    (2) Whether you are frum or OTD, do you think that there are well meaning, kosher and perceptive Rabbonim and chassidim/chareidim?
    (3) Shpitzle’s compassion is awesome. But does she opine due to empathy with the abused, or for a wider assortment of theological and philosophical reasons? I think the answer lies in her evolution and history from her blog until now.

  • mike
    Posted at 15:56h, 15 October Reply


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