This kind of thing gives me a big thrill. And a big chill.
It's not that often that you find the entire state of Jewish life today encapsulated in one place.
The place of which I speak is the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
Indeed, while the October issue features such stories as "How $9 billion in cash vanished in Iraq;" "Inside Bush's bunker;" "How the Media Gored Al Gore in 2000;" and more, the cover features Nicole Kidman wearing a sailor cap and opening her shirt to reveal her nautical necklace and her brassiere.
Vanity Fair is nothing if not on the cutting edge of where society is and is going. Vanity Fair is definitely not a Jewish publication.
And yet, in this one issue, it tells us more about the Jewish world as it is today than any lecture or book or class out there.
It does that in two ways.
The first is its annual list of what it calls The New Establishment, the 100 most powerful, most influential people in American society.
What is absolutely amazing, stunning about the list is how many Jews there are on it. Jews make up about 2.5 percent of the U.S. population so there should be two or three Jews on the list.
Guess again, bubeleh.
The list of the Vanity Fair 100 includes, get ready, 51, yes 51 Jews.
I say 51 because that's how many I'm sure are Jewish.
But let's say I got them all. That means that more than half the names on the list of the 100 people who are the most vital to this society are Jewish. And this is a list that includes Apple's Steve Jobs and Oprah and Bill Clinton and Warren Buffett, to name a few of the few non-Jews on the list.
That is absolutely nothing short of astounding.
Talk about us being accepted into this society, talk about us having power in this society, talk about anti-Semitism being a thing of the past, talk about Jews no longer needing to be afraid to be visible and influential.
And it doesn't stop there.
The magazine also has a separate list of what it calls The Next Establishment, younger people it believes destined to make the big list some year soon.
Of the 26 names on that list, 15 are Jews. That I'm sure of. 15 of 26. More than half.
And it doesn't stop there.
The magazine also has a separate list of what it calls The Pit-Stop Club, those who have made The New Establishment list in the past but who didn't make it this year but are fairly certain to make a comeback in a future year.
Of the nine names on this list, eight are Jews. Eight out of nine. Don Imus is the only non-Jew on the list.
I mean, it's just unbelievable.
This is a big country with lots and lots of very talented, highly educated, tremendously motivated people. And no one has its finger on the pulse of the people who make this country what it is more than Vanity Fair.
And when it came time to pick the 100 who most move and shake things in America, more than half-more than half-are Jews. And on the list of those who will one day be on that list, more than half-more than half-are Jews. Not to mention that almost 100 percent of those who were on the list and are poised to make a comeback are Jews.
Tells you so much about the place of Jews in this country, about the amazing people Jews are.
That's something we should never take for granted, something we should always be blown away by, feel very, very good about.
Instead, however, the Jewish world is so much about kvetching and worrying.
When will we learn to fight fights that matter. When will we learn not everything needs to be made a big deal of. Not everything we don't like is a threat, indeed some of the things we don't like only become a nuisance because we make a big deal out of it.
We are powerful, very powerful. We play a major, pivotal role in the life of this country. And yet we are always acting like scared little mice on the verge of annihilation.
And if you think how we are doesn't have consequences, please look at something else in this Vanity Fair issue, something that also tells us much about Jewish life today.
Judaism has so many powerful people among us, as the Vanity Fair 100 list shows. We are such a part of this society, have such impact on this society and yet we're always unhappy, always feel victimized, always kvetch about this and that.
Well, who the hell wants to join that little party?
More than half those on the Vanity Fair 100 are Jews. And yet we don't feel powerful, indeed, the very fact of the list makes us even more nervous than we were before. Instead of being pleased and taking pride, we fret that it's not so good to be so visible, bad that the gentiles see how much influence we have.
Joseph Aaron is Editor of The Chicago Jewish News.
To see Jewish author Joseph Aaron’s interesting, and somewhat pompous, comments on this recent article, visit The Jewish World Review.