The critic George Croly (18th Century) asked a colleague if he had read a certain book and being told that the chap had reviewed it Croly replied, ';You mean you read the books you review, I never do that it could establish a prejudice.'Once upon a time a Jew in a Polish shtetel went looking for a tutor to become a heretic (apikorus) Upon being told that he would have to go to Warsaw to find a bona fide heretic and being recommended to Yossel the Heretic, the would be intern took off on his journey.Without a classified he went searching in the more likely places to find Yossel: the university, the state library, the museum, the concert hall. He could not find him and it began to snow. Looking to escape the snow he wandered to the Jewish section of Warsaw and came to a tiny one room synagogue (shteebel), and upon entering he found an elderly Jew sitting and studying a folio page of the Talmud in the traditional chanting style. After exchanging a few pleasantries lo and behold that was Yossel the apikorus.';What do you want of me?' Yossel';I would like to study to become an apikorus under you.'';What do you know' Yossel';I have read Plato, Aristotle.'When Yossel nodded no, our searcher thinking he meant someone more modern continued,';Schopenhauer, Nietzsche.'';No I mean here,' Yossel slapping at the Gemara.';I haven't studied Talmud at all.'';Then you are ignorant, go home and study and then come back to me. Someone has to know what it is that he is rejecting!'Here is such an expedition and exploration, of one young would-be seeker steeped in the joyous magic and mystery of being a Jewish American, yet hauntingly seeking out and simultaneously dodging American Jews and that Jewishness within.
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