Jules Wainstein / Facebook
Jules Wainstein. Jules Wainstein / Facebook
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Meet Jules Wainstein, the Newest ‘Real’ Housewife of NYC

Wainstein, who is of both Asian and Jewish descent, has used her MoT status in some suspect ways. Will she find a similar fate as former ‘RHONY’ cast member Jill Zarin?

Rachel Shukert
April 15, 2016
Jules Wainstein / Facebook
Jules Wainstein. Jules Wainstein / Facebook

The Real Housewives of New York is back for an eighth season and, as it seems to be the rule among most Americans in this most contentious of times, the housewives themselves are angrier than ever.

After the mind-numbing boredom of the Beverly Hills franchise—with all that passive-aggressive concern about the “true” nature of Yolanda’s illness; the constant, faux-lady-like requests for Lisa Vanderpump to “apologize” (for what, I’ve never been sure, except for being smarter and more successful than everybody else); and the refusal of anyone to really get totally, sloppily, embarrassingly wasted (because: calories)—it’s a relief to bask in the naked aggression of the women of the Naked City.

We’re only two episodes in and the madness has begun. Already, Dorinda is enraged—like fully red-faced, and emiting screams—at Bethenny for calling out her compulsive need to “sell” her odious boyfriend John to her friends. Ramona has decided she’s mad at Carole. The Countess has revealed she has extra teeth coming out the roof of her mouth. And Bethenny and Carole (one of whom has made a fortune teaching women how to be skinny enough to fit into their toddler’s clothing), are convinced Jules Wainstein has an eating disorder.

Who is Jules Wainstein, you might ask? Well, she’s the reason I am writing to you today!

Wainstein, a self-proclaimed “socialite”—which in a certain subset of Manhattan basically means “homemaker, except I have hired help actually do the homemaking so I can spend most of my time at Barney’s”—is the newest housewife on the franchise. She’s 34, which makes her significantly younger than the others. She is the mother of two small children with self-consciously trendy first names (Jagger and Rio), and the only “housewife” currently on the show who is, in fact, married. She is also Jewish, a fact she keeps trumpeting again and again as though it’s the kind of thing America will find hopelessly exotic.

The Real Housewives of New York City. (Facebook)

The Real Housewives of New York City. (Facebook)

And how Jewish is Jules, you ask? Very Jewish, despite the fact she doesn’t “look it,” because she is half-Japanese—a fact she points out as often as is humanly possible. She seems exquisitely aware of just how much power this gives her metaphorical stock on the Hebraic hedge-funder marriage market. (Half-Jewish and half-Asian, it’s true.)

She’s Jewish enough to have a complete freak out when she accidentally almost touches a piece of fried shrimp (she keeps kosher), and to shriek to all and sundry that she’s going to hell, even though Jews don’t believe in hell, which you think Jules would know given how Jewish she is. Jules is Jewish enough to again use kashrut as a pretext for not eating anything but a single slice of marinated bell pepper at the seafood restaurant Catch, even though I’ve been there and they have a million different things on the menu, including many varieties of delicious and 100% kosher fish, complete with scales. (And for what it’s worth, she ate said pepper off the restaurant’s non-kosher china, using their non-kosher silverware. So that wasn’t the issue.)

Will Jules continue to use being “Jewish” as the reason for further odd or problematic behavior, such as letting her kids show up to school an hour late every morning because their Jewish mother doesn’t know how to say “no” to them, like ever? Time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, let’s just hope she doesn’t go down the road of the last New York housewife who was this conspicuously Jewish: the unlamented Jill Zarin, who, before she was fired, seemed determined to use 5000 years of tradition and oppression to explain away many of her less flattering traits (materialism, nosiness, solipsism). (If you don’t believe me, she says as much of herself in her book Secrets of a Jewish Mother.)

Jules Wainstein would be wise not to go down the same road. Find a reason for being that has nothing to do with shopping, or shellfish, before Zarin grows too loud to ignore. It just wouldn’t be fair; after all, she looks nothing like her.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.

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