Maybe you've noticed that many of the bagel chains today are named after some of the most influential Jewish figures in history -- Einstein, Noah. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe it's the bagels that spurred all of this insight?
Well, the creators of TheBagel.org, a new Web site connecting and inspiring college students in Southern California, seem to think so.
Launched in November 2002, TheBagel.org is an online meeting place where young adults can interact and explore a wide range of topics that are relevant to their lives -- as college students and as Jews. Sponsored by Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary, The Jewish Community Foundation and The Jewish Federation's Israel Experience Program, the colorful site offers financial aid and internship directories, buddy chat and a college prep section for high school students. There is even an Ask the Rabbi column where students can get advice from an array of rabbis on subjects that range from "Why do we eat latkes on Chanukah?" to "I am in a serious relationship with someone who is Catholic, but I am worried that if we marry I will jeopardize my relationship with my Orthodox grandparents."
But what makes
TheBagel.org stand apart from other Web sites for Jewish college students is that the majority of the content is written by student contributors. Students can review restaurants and movies, share the news on their campuses, keep a campus diary, or write in about anything that is on their minds. Not only does the site encourage creative expression, but it also offers students an opportunity to be published.
As for the mascot, creators believe that "the bagel" represents the Jewish, yet nondenominational and limitless nature of the site.
"It is identifiable and memorable. Jewish, but not religious or Zionist. What is perfect about this name is that while it is Jewish, it's not tied to any specific type of Judaism. There is a large variety and many different types of bagels, just like the Jewish community. But most importantly it resonates with the people we want to reach," said Meirav Ravid, site editor.
Perhaps there's even a few young Einsteins or Noahs in the bunch.
Students can e-mail stories to firstname.lastname@example.org .