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St. Louis Jewish Light

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St. Louis Jewish Light

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Videos declaring ‘I’m Jewish, Of Course!’ are trending. Here’s why.

From left, Amy Albertson, Menachem Silverstein and Jodi Innerfield are among the Jewish content creators using the #ofcourse social media trend to tackle antisemitism. Courtesy of Amy Albertson, Menachem Silverstein, Jodi Innerfield.

This story was originally published in the Forward. Click here to get the Forward’s free email newsletters delivered to your inbox.

A recent social media trend features humorous videos built around the words “Of course!” paired with comments that self-deprecate or poke fun at stereotypes. 

For example, New Yorkers typically mock their rude reputations: “I’m from New York. Of course we don’t say excuse me. We just shove them and keep walking.” And the glam singer Mariah Carey shows herself exercising in an evening gown. “Of course this is my workout ensemble!” she says.

But Jewish creators on TikTok and Instagram are approaching the #ofcourse trend differently. Some are celebrating Jewish culture, while others are tackling antisemitism or offering chilling commentary on the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel. They’re not celebrities; their followers number in the thousands, not the millions. And often their other posts are about pets, food or daily life. But in the aftermath of Oct. 7 and the rise in antisemitism, they felt compelled to speak out. 

Videos declare: ‘I’m Jewish!’ 

One of the most disquieting #ofcourse videos comes from Menachem Silverstein, a standup comedian and film producer in Los Angeles. Typically his TikTok content takes a humorous approach to riffing on Jewish stereotypes, but his #ofcourse video has a darker tone. 

He starts out by declaring, “I’m Jewish!” with an enthusiastic smile. Then his expression goes blank. “Of course if I were murdered or abducted, no one would say anything … or care,” he says as his image fades away from the 12-second video, replaced by the words “Bring Them Home Now!” 

The concept came to Silverstein after he heard hostages’ families speak about their ordeals. “I woke up the next morning thinking, ‘If I went missing, the world wouldn’t care,’ which is a pretty scary thing to think about,” he said in a phone interview.

Another “We’re Jewish! video starring two young Jews and subtitled in Hebrew, veers sharply into Oct. 7 commentary after starting  out with lighthearted truisms like, “Our mom makes us eat all the leftovers from Shabbat throughout the week!” But then, the narrators take turns delivering increasingly bitter observations about the Israel-Hamas conflict:

“We’re Jewish! Of course people think they know more about our history than we do!” 

“We’re Jewish! Everyone has the right to defend themselves — but not us.” 

“We’re Jewish! Our best friends and family went to a party and got kidnapped by Hamas.” 

Some #ofcourse videos have a fraught tone from the outset. This one posted by Ysabella Hazan, who frequently makes videos about her Moroccan Jewish heritage, begins, “We’re Jews! Of course we make jokes to try to get through hard times,” and ends: “Of course we play Jewish geography in the rocket shelter when Hamas fires missiles at us from Gaza!”

Celebrating Jewish culture

Many Jewish #ofcourse videos are straightforward celebrations of culture or seek to educate viewers about Jewish customs. “I’m Jewish! Of course I wear long sleeves in 100-degree weather,” says an Orthodox girl in a video shot on the streets of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. In another clip, two girls carrying bouquets chirp in unison, “We’re Jewish! Of course we buy flowers for Shabbat!”

Others express familiar sentiments. “We’re Jewish! Of course I’m going to ask you what camp you went to,” goes the script in a video from Lindsay Chase, whose TikTok posts often center on food, makeup or her French bulldog. “We’re Jewish! Of course I have a tummy ache,” the video continues. “We’re Jewish! Of course I know your grandma’s best friend’s grandson’s brother.”

Amy Albertson, a social media consultant, uses the #ofcourse format to showcase Jewish activists and diversity. “We’re Jews on social media. Of course I’ve been banned from TikTok 25 times!” says a speaker in one of Albertson’s Instagram posts. “We’re Jews on social media. Of course we get daily death threats!” says another. 

In the video’s final clip, Albertson, a Chinese Jewish educator, stands outside a kosher Chinese restaurant where participants in the video met to celebrate Lunar New Year. “We’re Jews on social media,” Albertson says. “Of course you have Lunar New Year dinners at Persian Chinese kosher restaurants in LA!” 

In an email about the post, Albertson said: “As visible Jews online, we deal with a lot of things, some good and some bad. This shared experience also has led a lot of us to become friends and create community. This video was a little glimpse into us making light of some of the things we experience.”

Dealing with hate

Jodi Innerfield, who works in marketing in New York, started creating Jewish TikTok content after encountering Hanukkah greeting cards that made no sense. “I felt like I had something to say about bad Hanukkah cards with llamas dressed in a tallis — just really bizarre stuff,” she said in a phone interview. Initially, her Jewish-themed TikTok posts were “a way to be reactive, but also to share something. At the time, I found that people who were commenting or interacting with me were just genuinely curious.” 

But since Oct. 7, “it’s been really hard to be on TikTok” and “hard to feel creative,” she says, because “there’s so much hate.” So when the #ofcourse trend came around, “it felt like a way to have fun with it again.” The #ofcourse format also allowed her to “address some of the antisemitic comments that frankly my TikTok always got, but that I have been getting more and more of.” 

She starts her #ofcourse video with mild cultural platitudes. “Of course I know where to get the best bagels in New York City,” she says. “Of course we love Seinfeld, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Fiddler on Roof.” And best of all, this: “Of course I have an opinion about your blueberry bagel.”

But the video also has an edge. “Of course I’ve been told, ‘You’re the first Jewish person I’ve ever met,’” Innerfield says. “Of course I’m offended by your joke calling me cheap — but also calling me rich.”

Silverstein says he too has received more antisemitic comments since Oct. 7. “I’ve gotten so many DMs of Hitler over the past four months,” said Silverstein. “I didn’t know there were that many photos of him out there.”

Ironically, though, “hate is the fuel that viral videos run on,” Silverstein said. So every time he gets those Hitler photos or some other hateful comment, he sees it as “fueling the machine that gets me that many more views.” 


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