another brother

My college professor from ~9 years ago discovered he's Jewish.

That's pretty crazy, but I guess not so surprising.. He was one of the few if not the only professor I had in school who was really intellectually challenging.

Going to NYU was an interesting experience, I had just finished highschool in a Jewish day school, (Frisch) and had reached the realization that I really liked the principles of Torah and Judaism, but I hated the incarnation of Jews with whom I was familliar. While most of my peers went for a year to study in Israel after highschool I chose to go straight on to NYU. (planning all along to join my friends in Israel for the second semester when they had gotten all the partying out of their system and were "more serious")

I showed up for minyan the first morning at NYU, to find two other guys there. There was no minyan at NYU my freshman year. In fact, there were virtually no religious Jews, at least none who had anything to do with anything social, anywhere where they might have been seen. It was so nice to explore a world free of the modern orthodox mindset. I always knew the truth, and that my lifestyle was very different from those around me, but it was refreshing to experience my lifestyle on my own. It turns out I was surrounded by Jews, just none of them knew it, every seemingly un-ethnic person I met at NYU, it turned out their mother's maiden name was Goldberg, or Stein or something. They were all technically, as far as Judaism is concerned, Jewish.. just almost none of them knew it. Some said they were half-Jewish, others their mom was Jewish--but they were all Jewish.

It got to a point where after a few months, every time I saw someone with a kippah walking down the street in manhattan, I felt like they were my brother. That was the mood I was in when I came to Israel second semester to study---suddenly tons of people everywhere wore kippot and they were all my brothers. It was really amazing.

I guess that feeling never really left me.


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