Only In America

My friend Connell brought a special guest to the pub Thursday night-- a geo-political science professor on sabbatical from Israel for a year-- he's here on some sort of "visiting scholar" program and he's an interesting and friendly guy . . . it was especially fun for me to talk with him, because he's very interested in Syrian politics and his family is originally for Aleppo and lived there for many many generations before his parents left and went to Israel . . . and he's never been to Syria because the border is closed with Israel so he was very interested in all my traveling tales through the country and my take on Syrian politics-- it made me feel very worldly . . . I was a veritable font of information, but I wish I was as knowledgeably about American politics (or something financially useful, like fantasy football) but the most interesting thing about our conversation was how he perceived Highland Park-- he was surprised how rigidly orthodox and rule-abiding the Jewish folk in our town are, especially about the Sabbath . . . he said that's rarely the case in Israel and he was shocked that American Jews are so much more observant than Israeli Jews, but I guess if you're Jewish and live in Israel than that's enough to feel like you're part of the culture, but in America you've got to do a bit more (or a bit less, if it's the Sabbath).

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