Date of Award

May 2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Michael Z. Newman

Committee Members

Gilberto Blasini, Elana Levine, Simon Bronner


American television, Cultural representation, Jewish identity, Jewishness, Millennials


This dissertation explores televisual representations of Jewishness among the Millennial generation in the United States. During the 2010s, numerous television series embraced the specificities of Jewish culture and identity, including celebrations and spiritual beliefs. These programs played with dominant understandings of Judaism and Jewishness – confronting, deconstructing, and sometimes confirming some of these characterizations. In series such as Broad City, Difficult People, Russian Doll, and Transparent, Jewishness textured the characters’ sociopolitical consciousness and behavior. These programs also accentuated the distinctive concerns of a generation of American Jews, aligning with their economic anxieties and sociopolitical ideologies, which often veered left. Characters identified proudly as Jewish while using this affiliation as a symbol for their interest in progressivism and pluralism with other marginalized groups. Meanwhile, shifts in media industries toward the expansive growth of subscription-based on-demand platforms further enabled programs with an increasingly niche appeal, such as those examining explicitly Jewish themes, to find devoted audiences and critical attention. Using cultural and textual analyses, this project locates television series in conversation with prevailing sociopolitical concerns confronting American Jewish Millennials and reveals how media texts situated the Millennial Jew as simultaneously assimilated into whiteness and contending with their Otherness.