The only entity under greater scrutiny for a “bump” than the abdomen of your average starlet is the population of young Jews. Fortunately, the JTA reported this week on a new study that shows an increased attachment to Israel for non-Orthodox American Jews under 35, which study author Steven M. Cohen called a “Birthright Bump.”
If Birthright Bump evokes associations with the baby bumps of celebrities like Adele, Jessica Simpson and Drew Barrymore, then it also begs the question whether perhaps Birthright alumni are really more affiliated or if they simply ate a few too many sabiches. As Dvora Meyers put it, baby-bump watches happen when “an otherwise slender actress… might be pregnant or might have made the grievous error of eating a big lunch or skipping her monthly enema.” In other words, maybe that Birthright bump is just a falafel baby?
The study would suggest that attachment to Israel does not necessarily carry with it support for the Israeli government – younger Jews are substantially more attached to Israel than Jews over 35, but express much lower support for Israel’s political leadership and Israel’s behavior in its conflict with the Palestinians.
Cohen himself qualified his coinage of Birthright Bump in light of the somewhat divergent data: “Should other evidence of a similar nature emerge, we will have mounting support for the notion of what could be called the ‘Birthright Bump.’” One can assume this is a doctor’s precaution (though not a real doctor, just a PhD) as we anxiously await confirmation on the pee stick of Jewish affiliation.
In the meantime, look for more studies mirroring the intrusive gaze of the tabloid “bump watches” as they attempt to gauge long-term attitudinal impact of Birthright. Perhaps Jewish media should be a more literal version of the tabloids like “Us Weekly” and “[Chosen] People.”