A few years ago, I visited friends in New Jersey for Shabbat. We went to their synagogue for services and my friend introduced me to their Rabbi. The Rabbi welcomed me to their community and asked from where I had come.
I said, “I live in Bet Shemesh, Israel since 1994. I am an executive at a high tech company there, etc…”. He then said, “From your accent it sounds like you came from somewhere else”.
I responded, “True, I made aliya from Chicago”. Then the Rabbi says, “You’re from Chicago? Fascinating. Tell me about West Rogers Park. How are the schools, what’s the community like there” etc… I then reminded him that I hadn’t lived in Chicago for over a decade.
What if I been a tank commander? A politician? A diplomat? I guess living in Israel just isn’t exotic anymore. I suppose more Jews from Israel make it to synagogues in New Jersey than transplanted Chicagoans. Signs of the times.
Every time I speak with my friend, I remind him now as sort of a mantra, that his Rabbi was more interested in my Chicago roots than my living in Israel.
Here’s a Bus Stop in West Rogers Park, Chicago
Reading the Torah in Ramat Bet Shemesh (Hachnasat Sefer Torah)