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Someone Asked the Internet If Jews Have Trash Cans

This is how crazy myths about Jews get started in the digital age

Yair Rosenberg
December 10, 2015

The Internet is both one of the world’s greatest depositories of readily-available information, and also one of its least reliable. Finding answers to any question has never been easier, but determining whether those answers are trustworthy remains a challenge. Which is something a Reddit user discovered when he posed a simple question to the popular online community’s Jewish forum, r/Judaism. His query: Do Jews have trash cans?

On Monday, a user by the name of ukconnor posted this to Reddit:

So I’m not Jewish, but I’m dating a Jewish girl. She has told me several times that she does not have a trash can in her kitchen because of her faith. She also tells me that she does to mess with me. Then she’ll tell me she doesn’t. She goes back and forth to f– with me (which is hilarious), but I need to know:


Fortunately for ukconnor, the Jews of the internet were there to help.

“Everyone knows that trash cans don’t eat their cud and aren’t kosher,” one respondent quickly retorted.

“I was raised in a home with a kitchen trash can,” offered another, “but I am slowly working on increasing my religious observance. Right now I put my kitchen trash can in the hallway on Shabbat, our holy day–hopefully soon I’ll manage to get rid of it altogether.”

“Sorry, what’s a trash can?” asked one user, adding by way of explanation, “I’m super super Jewish.”

“I’m converting and I recently got rid of my trash can,” said another. “If anyone here tells you they have one, they’re messing with you.”

Some users attempted to present the appearance of seriousness, before veering into satire. “I don’t know why you’re going out with her,” opened one. “We’re clearly allowed to use trash cans in the kitchen if they are 18″ tall or less and are only used exclusively for trash and not garbage or rubbish.” Another user then clarified some key points of Jewish law on the matter: “My minhag [custom] (which is espoused by the Nimwegener Rebbe mind you!) is that it’s 17.9″ maximum and can only be constructed from polymers, though metals are okay for mechanical parts.”

Said another: “We have two trash cans in our kitchen: one for dairy trash, and one for meat. A truly pious housewife will keep a third trash can for pareve trash. And the le’mehadrin min ha-mehadrin practice is to install a fourth, just for Chinese food.”

Naturally, some tied their replies into the Hanukkah story. “Of course we have trash cans in our kitchens! There’s a holiday right now that commemorates our freedom to have trash cans,” one helpfully explained. “After we took back the Second Temple from the Syrian Greeks, we had only one trash can that we thought could only hold one day’s worth of trash; instead, it was able to take trash for 8 days. Kind of like my current trash can, which my roommate can never seem to be bothered to take out. Chag ashpa [refuse] sameach!”

There are 79 answers and counting so far on the Reddit thread, almost none of them even remotely accurate. And in celebration, r/Judaism has changed how it refers to the group’s members. The forum’s sidebar now boasts of hosting “12,715 Trash Haters.”

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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