Campfires and Color Wars Presents: Jewish Geography Zoom Racing

For those with short attention spans, the TL;DR version of this post is we launched a game show called Jewish Geography Zoom Racing. New episodes stream live every Saturday night at 9 ET. 

A couple weeks ago, I saw this hilarious video segment from Katie Nolan’s ESPN show Always Late, where she and her friends competed to see who could get the most famous person they knew to join their zoom call:

This segment was so fun to watch, and brought a continuous smile to my face seeing their joy every time a new person joined.

Cut to: last week I was out for a run, and somehow I got to thinking about Jewish Geography.

For those who aren’t familiar with Jewish Geography (not everyone who listens to the podcast is Jewish, as we’ve discussed before, it’s just we generally assume if you are Jewish you went to camp), it’s this strange phenomenon amongst Jews* that whenever you meet someone new, the first thing you do is ask them where they are from and then if they know anyone you know in common.

*Anecdotally, we’ve heard this is true in the Indian community as well. 

This is so ingrained in American Jewish culture as to be mundane – it’s just what you do. But I learned a long time ago that it is NOT normal for people who aren’t MOT.

I was once in Boston and went out with a buddy of mine to meet up with a girl who I’d never met but a friend had suggested getting together with. This friend was not Jewish, the girl was.

We sat down the three of us, and she and I immediately started playing, figuring out that we knew many people in common despite the fact I grew up in Mississippi and she in Michigan.

After a few minutes she got up to use the restroom, and my friend sat and stared at me and was like, “What just happened?”

He couldn’t get over how casual we were about the whole thing. “If I met someone from somewhere else and they knew someone in my hometown, that would BLOW MY MIND.”

Meanwhile, it’s just another Saturday night for me. And though playing JG is so incredibly familiar, it never ceases to entertain.

What made Nolan’s segment work wasn’t just that they knew famous people, but that all those famous people were available. They were like all of us right now, if we’re fortunate enough not to be on the frontlines, just sitting around looking for ways to entertain ourselves. We’re all available.

I started to do the math in my head, and I came up with this equation:

Jewish Geography + Everyone Available + Zoom = Entertainment

So here we are. Tonight we launch the first episode of Jewish Geography Zoom Racing, during which contestants will be given a name of a Jewish person they had never met, and they will race to see who can get that person on the zoom call the fastest, using only six degrees of (zoom) separation.

Intrigued? We’ll be livestreaming the entire game on our Campfires and Color Wars Facebook page.

Here are the basic rules of the game:

  1. Two contestants are given the name of a person neither of them know and race to see who can get that person to join the zoom call first.
  2. NO GOOGLING OR FACEBOOK STALKING ALLOWED
  3. Contestants can only compete through six degrees of separation. They can text a friend and ask them to join the zoom call, at which point they can ask if they know the person in question.
  4. If their contact does not know the person, then that contact must invite to the zoom who they think might know the answer, and so on and so forth until the game is resolved.
  5. Clues as to the identity of the individual will be dispersed at timed intervals throughout the game. The clues cannot be texted, they can only be told live on the zoom.

This is our first episode, so we will likely learn as we go what works and what doesn’t, but it is going to be a fun ride no matter what to see how closely we’re all connected, especially in these insane times.

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