You Say Hanukkah, I Say Solstice
The start of the festival of lights nicely coincided with the winter solstice today, the darkest day of the year, especially here in Oregon, which has been usually cold, snowy and grey.
This half-Jew and her ambivalent Jewish husband were pleasantly surprised by the eclectic latke party and potluck the Beit Am Mid-Willamette Valley Jewish Community organized tonight. In a way it’s nice to have only one Jewish space in town, where those of all persuasions and degrees of unaffiliation are welcome.
We met a German-born economics professor emeritas, who migrated to Israel then studied at Berkeley and landed at Oregon State, where he retired in 1991. He had some colorful things to say about department politics and the writer and former OSU prof Bernard Malamud, who features Corvallis in his excellent novel A New Life. And we chatted with a young Israeli couple (guy is a resource economist) whose secular sensibilities reminded me just how out of touch American Jews can be with Israeli culture. Funny, the guy reminded us so much of Damiano, the Italian roommate of our Israeli friend Yoni back in Baltimore. Ah, Baltimore friends, we miss you:)