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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

If New Yorkers are found to be unhappiest, what about the bulk of the Jews in the U.S.?

A recent study published in the well-respected journal Science found that New Yorkers were the least happy when compared to residents of the rest of the country.  Yes, they came in at the bottom of the barrel of data processed to learn which state churned out the most satisfied people.  If the Jewish population is most dominant in New York state (one estimate is 1.9 million), what does that say for the majority of our people in this country?  Are Jews in New York actually less happy than those elsewhere?  Does it fulfill the Woody Allen stereotype of the neurotic, parasitic, always-worrying, hypchondriac shnorrer?

Surely, even Woody found some happiness through film at least once by way of his mockumentary Zelig
(1983).


 This title character became famous in the 1920s by possessing the skill to morph into various different famous personas.  That's pretty happy, right?  Optimistically, Zelig literally translates as "happy."  Have you known a Seligman, Seelig, or Seligsohn?  Here is a  further look at the name with Zelig as its root.



Living in New York sure can be rough, at least around the edges, and especially when you get a ticket while you're down the block purchasing your muni meter parking ticket.  Any number of Seinfeld or Curb episodes can attest to that type of absurdity that happens day-in, day-out in New York City.  Perhaps this explains why so many Jews headed out west, making Los Angeles quite literally the city of angels for the Jews who had enough saychel  (scroll down for the description of Greece) to move after braving the elements of New York.

(Keep posted for a report on Jews in LA...but not those of the Ashkenazi-bred rye bread deli-pack).

Looking at the bright side of the study, where were Americans happiest?  Louisiana.  Fascinating news since one would think that post-Katrina, folks in the Bayou were still downtrodden and depressed.  But it sure sounds like it's the place to live, if you take the study for what it's worth.  If that's the case, maybe we Jews should all head down to join Reb Uri and Dahlia Topolosky in their holy work with the rebuilding of the Jewish community of New Orleans.

In reality, whether you live in Prospect Heights, Runyon Canyon or Metairie, we should all be filled with Joy because "we want you to be happy, don't live inside the gloom..."