I told ya, I'm Ophi...a chunky, funky, quarter-finding, bagel-eating
TODAY, I MOVED TO MINNESOTA.
the Twin Cities?" you ask. "Lovely area!"
I moved to Duluth, a small place three hours north of Minneapolis.
Duluthians are tall, stoic Scandinavian folk. Passive-agressive
is the modus operandi for these quiet northern settlers. In
fact, this is the only place I've ever been where all the
brunettes have blond roots and the Irish people are considered
loud, combative five-foot-two Jewess whose roots tend toward
the darker side. To say I don't quite fit here is an understatement.
So for outsiders and newcomers, I've prepared this handy sightseeing
to visitors on the cusp of 2002:
I no longer live in Duluth, but
I decided to leave this part of the site up with hopes that
it will provide amusing comfort to other Jews (and non-Jews)
scattered in towns whose major attractions include corn shucking,
twenty-foot crucifixes, Walmart megastores, or Swedish craft
now live in Duluth's antithesisNew York Cityand
I confess to feeling an occasional nostalgic twinge for the
tiny Northland town. For five months, the only Jew I saw most
days was my own face in the mirror. The "negative space"
created by the absence of other Jews defined my Jewishness
in ways that living two blocks from a kosher deli never could.
Duluth, I shocked myself by attending the town's only synagogue.
You couldn't drag me to temple in Manhattan. And being asked
by a well-meaning Minnesotan, "Jewish? What's that?"
made me realize that Jews indeed are less than three percent
of America's population.
absence of a solid Jewish community in Duluth offered me an
amazing sense of possibility: I could be Jewish any way I
wanted to be. This often translated to an hour at the synagogue
Friday evenings, followed by dancing at a bar called The
Cove. In an observant Jewish setting, this could be frowned
upon. To me, it was an awesome way to celebrate lifeand
thus honor Shabbaton my terms.
I don't see myself settling permanently in an area as Jewless
as Duluth, I know that if life took me to such a place, I
could handle it. Oddly, Duluth may have prepared me for my
first adult trip to Israel in 2000. It was as much a culture
shock to see Jews be the majority culture as it was to see
none at all.
still figuring out what my Minnesota tour of duty meant to
me. At any rate, it was the birthplace of this website, which
has led me to many amazing people and opportunities. So for
that, I must tip my yarmulke to the six-foot blondes, creamy
casseroles and mini-marshmallow salads that I knew back when.