v. Identifying another person as a Jew.
v. Either trying to guess whether someone in your presence is Jewish or letting someone in your presence who appears to be Jewish know that you are too in such a way that will avoid embarrassment if you’re wrong.
v. Inserting a Jewish phrase or concept into a conversation in order to indicate that one is Jewish or to determine whether the other person is Jewish.
"I thought my seatmate might be Jewish, so I bagelled him by asking if he was headed home for the chagim."
"Will got bageled at the doctor's office; the doctor said that she was taking Rosh haShanah off, too."
Languages of Origin
derived from Yiddish בײגל beygl (see "bagel" entry)
- Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
- Younger: Jews in their 30s or younger
- North America
Who Uses This
Doodie Miller, former Director of Operations at YU's University School Partnership, takes credit for inventing the term and maintains a web site about the concept, "The Bagel Theory" (source). Writer Jessica Levine Kupferberg popularized the concept in an article for "j. weekly" (source), in which she credited Miller. "Bageling" is also used in several other ways: to describe stockings (especially nylon panty hose) falling in circles around someone's ankles; a Japanese fad involving facial modification; the act of shopping for bagels or discussing the art of bagel making; in tennis, to be bageled is to lose a match without winning a game.
You might, for example, bagel someone by suddenly clapping your hand to your cheek, as if you had just remembered something distressing, and saying, “Oy vey!” The bageled person might then say: A) “Oy vey is right — you don’t know what happened to me today” (mission accomplished); B) “Excuse me, but what did you say?” (To which you might answer, “Oh, I was just trying to remember the name of my mother-in-law’s dentist.”); C) nothing at all. Answer C would not definitely establish, of course, that you’re not talking to a Jew, but it would be a pretty good indication that if you are, he or she doesn’t think it’s any of your business.
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