Kabbalah is an esoteric discipline in Jewish mysticism, containing a set of teachings explaining the relationship between God and the universe. It dates to around the 12th century and originated in Spain and southern France. There are different traditions and streams of thought within it, that might focus on theosophy, meditative practices, or (more controversially) white magic. It has been a strong influence on Jewish philosophy and mysticism.
Since the 1960s, universalist schools have opened up which teach Kabbalah to people of all faiths and ways of life, one of the contributors to New Age spirituality. You can also sign up for six week courses in introductory Kabbalah, making it very accessible. Possibly such courses are held in Stars Hollow, although it is slightly surprising Luke knows about them and approves, as he doesn’t seem the most mystical person. The show did seem to just give random Jewishness to characters whenever it felt like it.
Freeway (a mistake for highway????) beautification projects
Community groups often sponsor a section of highway in the US in order to maintain it, and provide volunteers to work on it. Such projects might include planting trees, shrubs and ground cover plants, mowing grass, weeding, mulching, and removing roadside litter. It seems like something Taylor would almost certainly organise for a highway near Stars Hollow.
Color Me Mine pottery painting
A chain of studios, founded in 1996, where people can paint their own pottery and ceramics. In real life, there aren’t any Color Me Mine studios in Connecticut (but plenty in California, where the writers live).
Humorously, Luke’s suggestions of social activities he might approve don’t sound like anything most teenage boys would be interested in.
LANE: It’s so amazing to be back. When I got off the plane, I kissed the tarmac. LORELAI: Just like the Pope. LANE: It was hot and I burned my lips. RORY: Maybe that’s why the Pope always looks so grumpy.
Pope John Paul II, previously discussed, made a point of always kissing the ground when he arrived in a country as a sign of love and respect for the nation and its people.
LORELAI: What is that? LUKE: Oh, it’s a chuppah. LORELAI: A what? LUKE: A chuppah. You stand under it, you and Max. It’s for your wedding.
A chuppah is a canopy which a Jewish couple stand under when they are married. It’s usually a cloth or sheet (sometimes a prayer cloth) held up by four wooden poles. In Orthodox Judaism, there is meant to be open sky above the chuppah, just as is planned for Max and Lorelai’s garden wedding. The chuppah represents the home the couple are making together, which will always be open to guests.
Lorelai wonders whether it would be inappropriate for she and Max to have a chuppah, and gains reassurance from Luke on that point. Luke is actually correct: there is nothing specifically Jewish about getting married under a canopy (other religions do it too), and it doesn’t necessarily have to be religious in nature. These days there’s a bit of a trend for non-Jewish canopy weddings, and as long as it isn’t actually called a chuppah it doesn’t usually cause offence.
The chuppah is a gift from Luke to apologise for his behaviour towards Max. He knows he has been bit of a jerk about Lorelai’s wedding, and wants her to know he is still there for her as a friend. At the end of the scene, Luke and Lorelai are shown standing together under the chuppah as a sign that they will be married one day (when it happens in A Year in the Life, it will take place under a “canopy” beneath the sky, but not the chuppah).
It isn’t all that believable that the Luke we have got to know so far would actually make a chuppah for a non-Jewish wedding after getting the idea from a book (how did he know how to pronounce the word from reading it in a book?), and it seems awfully contrived.
This novel is on the coffee table when Max, Lorelai and Rory watch a film together.
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ is a 1991 novel by Portuguese author José Saramago. The original title is O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo, and it was first published in English in 1994. It’s a fictional re-telling of the life of Jesus Christ, presenting him as a flawed, very human character filled with physical passions and spiritual doubts. Although controversial for its criticisms of God and Christianity, it was praised by critics.
It is interesting to speculate whose book this actually is. It doesn’t seem like the type of book Rory usually reads, and neither she nor Lorelai appear to have much interest in religion. It feels like Lorelai’s book, and a comment on her slowly discovering that Max is likewise only human, and not all that her personal mythology made him.
RORY: I’m like ten years behind on my extracurriculars. DEAN: What are you talking about? RORY: Paris has been accumulating these things since she could walk. I mean, she has a list of good deeds that could bump Mother Teresa off the Harvard list.
Mother Teresa, born Anjezë Bojaxhiu (1910-1997) was an Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun and missionary who lived most of her life in India, caring for the poor. In 1950 she founded the Missionaries of Charity, which cares for the sick, and manages soup kitchens, orphanages, and schools.
Mother Teresa won numerous awards during her life, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Sh was canonised as a saint in 2016, and in 2017 named one of the patrons of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calcutta.
RORY: I will be assisting, I will be helping out those less fortunate than myself, I will be getting college credit and this is the end of this particular conversation. LORELAI: You’re right. It’s a good thing. Nice, keeps your halo shiny.
As becomes increasingly clear during this episode, Rory is volunteering purely for college credit, and doesn’t really care about the less fortunate. She’s not quite as angelic as Lorelai thinks.
JACKSON: Uh, hey, do you wanna look at the Brussels sprouts? SOOKIE: Yes, I do. [giggles] No. Ooh, what about some nice Brussels sprouts with like a garlic olive oil for the wedding? That sounds like a “‘Til death do us part” kind of side dish, doesn’t it?
Sookie says “I do”, which is the traditional way to agree to marry someone in the wedding vows, and “… until death do us part” is the conclusion to the traditional wedding vows, which date back to medieval times and are printed in prayer books.
Sookie is just teasing Jackson, but later they will be married for real.
BOOTSY: So, apparently they shoot a gland from a pig’s head in Ivana Trump’s rear end twice a month to keep her looking young. LORELAI: Wow, hope she’s not kosher. BOOTSY: I don’t know, doesn’t say here.
Ivana Trump (born Ivana Zelníčková in 1949) is a Czech-born American businesswoman and former model who was the first wife of Donald Trump, now the US president. They were married in 1977 and divorced in 1992, and he was her second husband. She has married twice more.
After her divorce from Trump, Ivana began selling her own line of clothing, jewellery, and beauty products through home shopping channels, wrote several novels and a self-help book on surviving divorce, had her own advice column, and bought up interests in Croatian media.
The story about pig’s gland being injected into her butt every two weeks seems to be fictional, but in line with the ideas of what silly, vain, and very wealthy socialites might get up to. Ivana Trump is not Jewish, and therefore not kosher.
The reference to the much-married Ivana may be a hint to Lorelai that marriage does not always last.
This is our introduction to a new character, the news vendor Bootsy (Brian Tarantina). We never learn Bootsy’s real name, or why he was given the nickname Bootsy. The name might remind you of singer William “Bootsy” Collins from Bootsy’s Rubber Band; in his case, his mother nicknamed him Bootsy because “he looked like a Bootsy”.
CLARA: Where’s your [Girl Scout] uniform? RORY: Oh, we’re not doing uniforms anymore. You know, we’re trying to blend in, relate better to the average person. It was a very successful strategy for the Hare Krishnas, so …
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a Hindu religious organisation, often called “Hare Krishnas”. It was founded in New York City in 1966 by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is worshipped by his followers as a guru and spiritual master. They worship Krishna as the highest expression of godhead, and promote yoga and a vegetarian diet.
Members of the organisation traditionally dressed in saffron robes, so that they were sometimes called “Orange People”. These days, they have integrated into the community, and often dress in normal clothes, just as many of their beliefs have become mainstream.
Girl Scout uniforms have changed throughout the years, and Rory’s statement has almost come true, as these days Girl Scouts wear casual pants and polo shirts, with a waistcoat or over-shirt to display badges on.