As I was growing up in my Jewish world there were numerous bagel chats with my friends.
Bagels, cream cheese, and good friends provided the basis of an atmosphere where conversations were endless. My cousin Al always stimulated my thinking when it came to Judaism and Jewish philosophy, and would pump my brain to understand Yiddish, which I'd learned at a very young age.
There was Mark, the only friend that I grew up with who also spoke Yiddish. We wiped out many bagels as we discussed Israel and other world problems. Mark went on to become a Harvard graduate, and the last time I saw him, he was a Congressional aide. My friend Bobby Morton would also bend my brain with Jewish philosophy. I had many other bagel buddies. Many times we'd meet at our favorite deli, Corkys. You always knew when the conversation was serious; we ordered cheese cake. Cheese cake meant we'd be there for several hours.
Still, my most memorable times were spent with my Russian Jewish grandmother as I was growing up, learning Yiddish from her. I had to to survive-bubbe didn't speak English, and she only remembered fragments of Russian. That's why I write so much about Yiddish- it was one of the major foundations of my Jewish identity. Yiddish cuts to the chase. A colorful, vibrant language, full of nuance.
So, come join me as I share some fragments of Yiddishkeit in the world of bagel chats. Bring lots of bagels and we'll be fast friends.
Picture originally found here