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Another ‘Berkeley Moment’

February 2, 2015

Filed under: Journalism,observations,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:19 am

Berkeley gets a bad rap from those who have never lived here, but there are some vignettes that capture its essence.

Last Saturday night, just after dark, my wife and I were walking down Vine Street after a light dinner.3917514_f260-1

Vine Street is a main drag in the City’s ‘gourmet ghetto’ – a block from Chez Panisse, and Saul’s Deli – both icons , but on opposite ends of the foodie spectrum.

We’re just strolling along when we see a young man, obviously a Hasidic Jew, standing next to a parking meter. At the same time another man, slightly taller, but with glasses, and also wearing black hat, rekel (black coat) and payot (side curls) walks out a small door. After a quick hello, he asks me, “Are you Jewish?”

I’d never been asked quite that directly, but since it obviously wasn’t meant in any kind of derogatory fashion, I answered, “Why yes, we are. Is it that obvious?”

Without skipping a beat, the man in glasses responds, “Well, yes it is.”

It was clear that he had a sense of humor, so I asked, “Are you Jewish?”

He smiled and answered, “What gave it away, my glasses?”

Turns out he was just looking for congregants to make a minion (10 men) so they could say their prayers to end the Sabbath (Saturday evening).

But, It’s just one of those “only in Berkeley” moments, that makes the city so great.

And no, I did not join the minion, but that’s a more complicated question.

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