Nice Jewish Boy
Jewish boys are generally Nice Guys
, or at least can be relied on being so when they're the centre piece or critical element of a given work of fiction. So are Ambiguously Jewish
ones. They also tend to be self-deprecating
, studious, and brainy. Although he may still love to argue
, even when he's arguing, you can still tell he's nice. It's reasonably likely he's a cheapskate
, but he's probably not actually greedy
. They're usually Adorkable
, because this is a quality favored in Jewish culture as an ideal husband: smart, reliable, and gentle, with a boyish charm. Often overlaps with Jewish and Nerdy
Even though nice Jewish boys are quite likely to cause Matzo Fever
, a character referred to as "a nice Jewish boy" tends to be unmarried — he's often referred to as "a nice Jewish boy" by his domineering Jewish Mother, who wants him to get married and give her grandchildren
and is advertising his niceness. Jewish Mothers
may also ask their daughters to find one of these, or indeed their sons to find "a nice Jewish girl."
The Other Wiki
has an article about the "Nice Jewish boy"
Anime and Manga
- Zig-zagged by Benny from Black Lagoon. He is definitely friendlier than Revy (but so are most rabid wolverines), and prefers electronics to guns, but like his co-workers he's utterly cynical to the point of apathy, and has no compunctions about participating in murder, grave robbing, human trafficking and the other nice things the Black Lagoon company does for money.
- Dan Dreiberg, from Watchmen, is Ambiguously Jewish, but according to Word of God is actually a lapsed Calvinist. Nonetheless, the fact he behaves a lot like a nice Jewish boy is almost certainly partially responsible for the widespread fanon that he's a Jew.
- Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, employs a distinctly Yiddish turn of phrase for the whole time he's being written by Len Wein and displays elements of this trope.
- Billy Kaplan/"Wiccan" in Young Avengers, although he wasn't confirmed to be Jewish for some time.
- Peter Parker aka Spider-Man was sometimes thought to be this due to his very pronounced feelings of guilt and domination by his surrogate mother Aunt May, especially as his creator Stan Lee is Jewish. However, particular details about his family added since the late 1980s have established his background as at least partly Irish and Catholic.
- The Steve Harvey Show. Recurring character Arthur Rabinowitz is almost always referred to by Steve as "That little polite Jewish boy who helps me with my taxes."
- House: Dr. James Wilson. Sensitive, caring, has an excellent bedside manner, and retains his composure without being the least bit cold when dealing with dying cancer patients. Even when he does bad things (like rat his best friend out to the police), it's almost always motivated by good intentions (getting said best friend off drugs). His biggest character flaw may be that he's too selfless. And his mother can talk about, "My son, the doctor..."
- Charlie Eppes, from NUMB3RS, though he is non-observant.
- Largely wanted by Nanny Fine in the early seasons.
- Discussed and subverted on Glee, as Puck's (Jewish) mother asks him why he can't find himself "a nice Jewish girl." This is part of the reason he goes out with Rachel. Neither Rachel nor Puck exactly fit the "reliable and gentle" mold, though. There is also Jacob Ben Israel, whose School Newspaper News Hound persona is anything but nice.
- Howard on The Big Bang Theory when he's not a complete pervert (which isn't that often).
- Brian Krakow on My So-Called Life.
- David "Gordo" Gordon on Lizzie McGuire.
- Chase Matthews on Zoey 101.
- Robbie Shapiro on Victorious. When he's not insulting people through his ventriloquist dummy.
- Hilariously subverted on the UK version of The Apprentice, when Sir Alan Sugar berated one of the contestants for not knowing the difference between Kosher meat and Halal meat after claiming he was a 'good little jewish boy' on his application.
- Josh from Being Human (US).
- George is Jewish, too. Maybe a little less nice, though.
- It isn't often mentioned in The Wonder Years, but Kevin's best friend Paul Pfeiffer is Jewish: one episode featured his bar mitzvah. A geeky Nice Guy, he fits the trope.
- Matt Parkman, from Heroes, is Jewish according to Word of God.
- On Seinfeld, Jerry's mother can't be persuaded that her son isn't a nice Jewish boy, although he very obviously is not.
- Sheldon in Less Than Kind.
- Sol Star on Deadwood fits the mold of nice Jewish boy to a tee—which isn't really an asset, considering he lives in a Wild West town of murderers, thieves, gamblers, and drunks.
- Zachary Ezekiel Rosenblatt Beekerman, also known as Zeke, from Wizards of Waverly Place is probably the nicest character on the show. He's so nice, he sometimes blames himself for other people's problems.
- Jeremy on Sports Night. Dan is less nice, but he's working on it.
- Ross Geller of Friends is a mild example bordering on Informed Judaism.
- The O.C. has Seth Cohen, a snarkier version of one but one nevertheless.
- Nico from Rebelde Way fits this to a tee, despite his commitment issues.
Religion and Mythology
- Collaborator Michael Moorcock described American heavy rock band the Blue Öyster Cult as a bunch of nice, well brought up, Jewish boys from upstate New York. (Only three of the original BOC lineup were Jewish, though).
- Other nice Jewish boys who went into musical careers include a certain Robert Zimmermann.
- Jewish acapella group the Maccabeats do Jewish-themed parodies of pop songs, and often mention the importance of family in their songs. They are/were also all students at Yeshiva University.
- Geddy Leenote of Rush described himself at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction as "a nice Jewish boy from Toronto."
- In the Bible:
- Jesus makes this trope Older Than Feudalism. One of the possible titles for Jesus Was Way Cool was Jesus Was A Nice Jewish Boy, and it's mentioned several times throughout the article. This is sometimes taken to extremes: there's a hymn titled "Gentle Jesus Meek And Mild"... which is an ironic hymn. Jesus had differing ideas about the definition of "meekness" then the modern connotation and, even in the Bible, has his moments of Kung-Fu Jesus. He was not a tame carpenter.
- A joke says "he was thirty-three, single, no obvious girlfriend and living at home with his mom. He's Jewish."
- The Old Testament is also full of this trope. Isaac and Jacob are good examples.
- The Talmud has guidelines for...kosher relations, between husband and wife. One particular rule is that Jewish husbands are required to satisfy their wives before themselves.
- While almost everyone in Fiddler on the Roof is Jewish, Motel the tailor is the closest the this trope.
- Mark Cohen in RENT.
- In Abie's Irish Rose, Abie is actually called this by his father, who always wanted him to marry a nice little Jewish girl, which Rose really isn't.