December 11th is celebrated as “Have a Bagel Day.” Jewish Treats has already covered the history of the bagel, the popular pastry favored in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. But, the term “bagel” has taken on a newer connotation in recent years.

According to, the verb “to bagel” describes “when a secular Jew lets a more observant Jew know that he or she is Jewish through indirect means.” The example offered is when a religious Jew (usually identified by clothing or hair style) is walking down the street and seen by a secular Jew, who, previously was talking to a friend about something secular, will suddenly segue into a conversation about something religious, such as keeping kosher, going to synagogue, or the like, wanting the more religious Jew to know that they too are a member of the tribe. The more religious Jew, in this situation, was “bageled.” “Unorthodox,” the self-described “world’s leading Jewish podcast, covered the issue of the infinitive “to bagel.” They claim it denotes, “to signal to a fellow Jew that one has spotted his or her Judaism.” “Thus,” they continue, “bageling someone is either outing him, or outing yourself.”

Bageling is certainly understood at self-identifying as Jewish, but can one “out” someone else? An article in the October 4, 2013 edition of “The Forward” described how Chabad Jews who seek to encourage fellow Jews to perform mitzvot (commandments) as part of Chabad “Mitzvah Campaigns,” try to identify fellow Jews who do not wear any clothing unique to Jews. The article followed two twenty-something Chabad twins, who were walking the New York subways in search of Jews to make the blessing over the lulav and etrog. While they will begin each conversation with “Excuse me, are you Jewish,?” they also endeavored to identify Jews whom they approached by looks. While they understand that Jews come in all types of looks, races and ethnicities, the Chabad emissaries seek out “Jewish looks” and report that sometimes they are “bageled”–almost sought out by co-religionists. While some find their question about one’s religious identity insulting or inappropriate, others –the successes – welcome it. One woman who was approached, reported, “I like connecting to my Jewish roots.”

When a breakfast food, connotes a component of Jewish pride, that is truly delicious!

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