The 5 Towns Jewish Times

How To Spot Another Frum Family On Vacation

By Mordechai Schmutter

One of the most fun activities for a frum person on vacation is to look around for other frum families on vacation. And of course to introduce yourself, even though if you ran into them at your local supermarket, you would never say a word to them.

I guess, in general, if you see someone new, you’re not sure if they live in town or are guests. Is it worth getting to know them? I don’t even talk to the people I know. But if you meet them out in the sticks, there’s no way they’re not guests.

“Hey, I’m frum, too! We’re all in the same boat! Minchah?”

I don’t know that people from out of town get the same thrill running into a frum person when they vacation in New York.

So here’s a list of a bunch of ways that you can tell if the family you’ve been frowning at for the past 10 minutes is actually frum. Note that not all frum people conform to all of these points (OK, no one conforms to all of these points), but if you see someone doing any of these, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s frum. And then you can go over to him and say, “Minchah?” And if he says, “What?” you can correct yourself by stammering, “Oh, sorry. You look a lot like my friend Minchah.” Or you can pretend that you’re talking to the person behind him. Chances are that you’re both in line for something, meaning that there are a lot of people standing in a row behind him, so you can basically keep doing this forever.

Note that these are all things people do on regular vacations, and I’m not even talking about what happens at the bungalow colony. Do goyim even go to bungalow colonies? I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from any of my neighbors, even my next-door neighbor Hershel, who is either Latino or African-American. (No, he doesn’t know how he got the name Hershel, but he named his son Hershel, too.) Point is, you can’t go by names.

You know what? Maybe this whole list means nothing; for all I know, even the goyim do all of these things, and I just think it’s the Jews. Though if it’s not, I’ve had some very questionable Minchahs.

What did they think we were doing?

“Um … guys? What are we looking at? I think the sunset’s behind us.” 

Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of five books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to